In recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Week in North Carolina, which runs from September 24-29, 2018, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey wants to remind the public about the seriousness of falls and ways to reduce fall risk.
“Injuries resulting from falls are more common than most people would think, especially among our older adults, and in some cases, they can even be deadly,” said Commissioner Causey. “We need to take every precaution we can and educate as many people as we can to prevent the risk of injury or death by falls.”
According to estimates by the North Carolina Injury and Violence Prevention Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, falls are the leading cause of injury related emergency department visits for older adults and are responsible for more than half of fatal head injuries.
In 2017, falls led to 1,094 deaths, 18,771 hospitalizations, and 78,799 emergency department visits in North Carolina.
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries among North Carolinians age 65 and older and can take a serious toll on older adults’ quality of life and independence.
The Injury Prevention section of the N.C. Department of Insurance and Office of State Fire Marshal has worked closely with the North Carolina Falls Prevention Coalition to unite older adults, caregivers, and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.
There are a number of programs and strategies that seniors and their caregivers can keep in mind to prevent falls including exercise programs, medication management, vision improvement, reduction of home hazards, and fall prevention education.
Please remember these steps to reduce falls:
- Exercise regularly to help improve your balance and strength.
- Take your time. Get up slowly and get your balance before walking.
- Keep stairs and walking areas free of clutter.
- Improve lighting. Leave a light on or use night lights.
- Use non-slip mat on your bathroom floor and showers.
- Be aware of uneven surfaces like rugs and uneven sidewalks.
- Be careful on stairs. Use the handrails and make sure they are well lit.