The Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition and Collier County Injury Prevention Coalition are collaborating to prevent falls—one of the leading causes of injury and death for seniors. The numbers are staggering; one out of three seniors fall each year, 20% of those who fall are hospitalized and half of those who are hospitalized pass away within a year.
Falls prevention education is a key first step to increasing public awareness regarding senior falls prevention and home safety. Cost-effective home modification and strategies are available to improve safety and lessen the likelihood of falls and the debilitating injuries that can result. Implementing fall prevention strategies are also an effective way to reduce the stresses associated with caring for seniors.
On Saturday, September 21 two free falls prevention events in Lee and Collier counties will be open to the public and provide free screenings (balance, vision, hearing, glucose, blood pressure), as well as useful information, Tai Chi demonstrations, products and services that will help seniors prevent falls. Prizes, food, and other giveaways items will also be distributed.
In Lee County, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gulf Coast Village, located at 1333 Santa Barbara Blvd, Cape Coral, FL 33991.
In Collier County, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Physician’s Regional Hospital located at 6101 Pine Ridge Rd., Naples, FL. 34119.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among Florida’s seniors. A significant fall can result in physical, personal, and social hardship, but they are also a significant economic burden as well. The current estimate of the cost of a four day hospital admission due to a fall is approximately $40,000. Among Florida seniors, there are more than 150,000 hospital-treated injuries from falls annually, with medical charges exceeding $2 billion dollars. Falls currently account for more than 75 percent of all fractures treated in emergency departments. The fear of falling is a leading concern among most seniors and has been linked to depression, loss of mobility and loss of functional independence.
The good news is that injuries from falls are a very preventable health problem. “We have to remember that falls are preventable and simply are NOT a normal part of aging,” says Mark Tesoro, an Analyst/Educator with the Lee Memorial Trauma Center and Lee County’s Injury Prevention Coalition. “People should not assume that after reaching a certain age they are destined to fall,” says Tesoro. He emphasizes that if you fall frequently there is a reason and a need to identify why they are occurring and how to prevent these falls.