Special Program Scheduled to Raise Awareness of Fall Prevention

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 

Special Program Scheduled to Raise Awareness of Fall Prevention

 

          Jefferson Community Health Center and Jefferson Family Home Care are planning a special event on Wednesday, Sept. 19, to help area residents understand that falls and the resulting injuries are an important health problem for adults over age 65.  Among older adults, injuries cause more deaths than either pneumonia or diabetes.

          Jefferson Community Health Center will offer a free educational session on fall prevention at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the Bob and Wauneta Burkley Wellness Center. Most falls can be prevented, and this program will provide information to help you learn to avoid falls. The program will be given by Kathy Helmink RN CDE, director of disease management, and Debbie Hellbusch RN, director of Jefferson Family Home Care.

          Pre-registration is not required to attend this free educational program.

          The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows the following statistics for falls in theUnited States:

  • One in three adults age 65 and older falls each year.
  • Of those that fall, 20 percent to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard for them to get around or live independently, and increase their rate of an early death. 
  • Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries 5 times more often than they are for injuries from other causes.
  • In 2009, emergency departments treated 2.2 million non-fatal fall injuries among older adults; more that 582,000 of these patients had to be hospitalized.
  • In 2007, over 18,000 older adults died of unintentional falls.  The death rates for seniors have risen sharply in the past decade.
  • In 2000, direct medical costs of falls totaled a little over $19 billion-$179 million for fatal falls and $19 billion for non-fatal fall injuries.
  • Many people that fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling.  This fear may cause them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, which in turn increases their actual risk of falling.

 

          Older persons are likely to fall for several reasons.  The environment can be particularly dangerous as one gets older.  Steps, poor lighting, throw rugs and uneven ground can all lead to increased falling.

 

          To prevent falls you have to find the underlying causes and treat them.  Therapists, nurses and family can help the elderly person regain or maintain his or her mobility.  They can also help lessen the risk of falling by creating a safer living environment and improving awareness of environmental dangers.

 

          Fall Prevention Awareness Day is annually recognized on the first day of fall, this year Saturday, Sept. 22. As we approach Fall Prevention Awareness Day, we encourage everyone to become familiar with how they can reduce their own risk for falls.

 

          Anyone with questions may call Kathy Helmink RN at (402) 729-6888 or Debbie Helllbusch RN at (402) 729-6857.