Falls are common in the U.S.
We’ve all been there… trying to move quickly and you don’t notice the ice/water/object that betrays a true step. As your body starts to flail out of control you grasp for anything in sight. For some, the fear of falling can not only be scary but down right debilitating. Adults who are worried about falling may avoid exercise, outdoors, and social events. This fear isn’t shocking, injury from falling is a serious threat, especially for older adults. The CDC reports that 1 in 5 falls results in a serious bone or head injury for anyone over age 65 (CDC, 2017).
Falls are more common in Winnebago County
Local statistics are equally grim, from 2010-2015 “falls outpaced automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental death among Wisconsinites 65 or older.” (Wisconsin Fall Prevention Action Plan). Wisconsin’s Burden of Injury Report, states that falls are the most common cause for injury in Winnebago County and our rates are higher than state averages. In 2017, there were 1,353 emergency room visits for adults over age 65 in Winnebago County (WI WISH Data). But there is good news…
Falls are preventable and not a normal part of aging
A group called “Finding Balance Together” (recently merged with the Winnebago County Falls Prevention Coalition) has been working for over a decade to assess, and implement strategies; constantly improving their approach.
Falls prevention can happen by:
- Raising awareness about the severity of falls
- Convening stakeholders ready to create a falls free community
- Identifying threats
- Individual risk factors: (vision, medication, blood pressure, etc). Watch this video to find out if you are at risk for a fall.
- Environmental risk factors:(poor/lacking sidewalks, icy conditions, slippery rugs)
- Providing resources:
Communities can help prevent falls
The collaborative approach that uses local government, non-profits, healthcare systems, and community resources allows experts to pool their resources and reach a larger audience. The number of people age 65 and older will grow to 21% of the population in 2030 (just 14% in 2010). As Winnebago County’s population ages, preventing falls should be a top priority. Through education and environmental changes we can save money, resources and most importantly – lives!
You can help prevent falls
So what can you do? Make your home safer, help a neighbor get to classes, share resources, join the coalition: Finding Balance Together or share this page to increase awareness. Falling can happen to anyone, at any age, it’s important to establish safe movements and environments for all.
- Local classes – Stepping On, Walk with Ease as well as many other evidenced based courses can help folks gain strength, mobility and confidence to move.
- Safe Home Checklist
- Falls Resource Guide
- Preventing Falls and Fractures
- social: Facebook and Twitter @WinnebagoHealth
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- web: www.winnebagopublichealth.org