Take a Stand to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults

Take a Stand to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults

Sep 21, 2015

Take a Stand to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, annual Spokane conference bringing community together in support of healthy aging

For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or

SPOKANE, Wash. — Sept. 21, 2015 — Fall is just around the corner in Spokane, but falls shouldn’t be just around the corner for older adults here. That’s why Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is joining forces with Spokane’s Fall Free Coalition to celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 23, 2015, which is also (you guessed it) the first day of fall.
Among Spokane County seniors, falls are responsible for 78.8 percent of deaths caused by unintentional injury. The county also has a significantly higher death rate from fall-related injuries than Washington state. Fortunately, falls are a largely preventable problem and they do not have to be viewed as an inevitable part of aging.
This year’s Fall Prevention Awareness Day theme, Take a Stand to Prevent Falls, seeks to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injury among older adults.
“An average of 540 calls are made to 911 in our community each month for assistance due to a fall,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “We can change this by bringing greater attention to the many preventive measures that can be easily employed to keep our seniors safe.”
The cost over five years locally for associated hospitalizations totals an excess of $243 million.
SHRD works in conjunction with the local Fall Free Coalition to help prevent falls among older adults through education and promotion of regular physical activity that includes work on balance, strength and flexibility. An area of focus for 2015 is connecting older adults with providers across the continuum of care, which is also the focus of the agencies’ annual conference coming up on Oct. 15. In addition to standard recommendations for seniors (listed further in release) this year’s attendees will learn about:

  • Common areas of fall prevention knowledge shared by physical therapists, occupational therapists, group exercise/ fitness trainers and caregivers.
  • Strategies to enhance communication between stakeholders and older adults about fall risk and healthy aging.
  • Components of facilitating critical family conversations.

Other agencies and stakeholders are coming forward to take a stand against senior falls too. On Sept. 23, Rockwood South Hill Community Center and Southside Senior and Community Center are hosting several free events that are open to the public including balance and walk assessments. Click here for more details.
Also on Sept. 23, Fairwinds Spokane will host fall prevention and walker education presentations and offer free balance assessments. Click here for more details.
And although fall prevention starts with an older adult scheduling his or her annual Medicare wellness visit with their primary care provider, year-round there are several resources older adults and families can access to prevent falls including free or low-cost exercise classes, free medication review, home safety services and independent living assessments. Click here for more details. The resources sheets also includes a Falls Prevention Prescription, outlining these four steps for older adults:

  1. Increase leg strength and balance.
  2. Review your medications with your pharmacist at least once a year.
  3. Have your vision checked annually by an eye doctor.
  4. Make your home safer.

Washington state is showing its support of Falls Prevention Awareness Day with a gubernatorial proclamation from Governor Jay Inslee which proclaims the week of Sept. 20 – 26, 2015 as Fall Prevention Awareness week in the state. Local communities throughout the state will host events and activities to raise awareness and encourage substantial reduction in falls through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based programs and community partnerships
This year marks the eighth annual National Falls Prevention Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging. Last year, 48 states participated in Falls Prevention Awareness Day, joining more than 70 national organizations, including the American Occupational Therapy Association, other professional associations, and federal agencies that comprise the Falls Free© Initiative.
For more information, go to Or visit SRHD’s web site offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.