SPOKANE, Wash. – In Spokane County, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries and hospitalizations for people 65 and older. Hospitalizations increased since 2005 to a 2009 rate of 402 per 100,000 population. The fall rate in Spokane County was significantly higher than that of Washington state. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable. That’s why Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is promoting Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall, Sept. 23, 2011. 

SHRD’s Injury Prevention program works in conjunction with Fall Free Spokane—both are dedicated locally to helping prevent falls among older adults through education and promotion of regular physical activity. This in includes a Falls Prevention Prescription located at, as well as numerous prevention tips and access to local resources. The prescription outlines these four steps for older adults:

  1. Begin a regular exercise program
  2. Make your home safer
  3. Have your vision checked annually by an eye doctor
  4. Review your medications with a pharmacist

“To put this in perspective, falls among older adults account for nearly three times as many hospitalizations as motor vehicle crashes for all ages combined,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “Nearly one in three older adults in Spokane fall at least once per year. We need to raise awareness that there are preventive measures that can keep seniors safe in Spokane.” 

The cost over five years of these emergency department visits total an excess of $90 million. In addition to visiting the SRHD Web site, older adults should also consult with their health care provider about getting a falls risk assessment. 

For additional information on falls prevention for older adults, visit the Fall Free Spokane Facebook site. Or visit The site also offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community.