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How Safe Are You from a Fall?

By Trena Winans, Education & Community Outreach Director

We all know that older adults sometimes have falls that land them in the hospital, but I would guess most of you are not aware of the prevalence of fall-related injuries in our local community. On average, falls are responsible for over 200 hospital admissions in just the City of Midland each year. That is an incident rate of 5 per 1,000 residents! Keep in mind that those figures only reflect the falls serious enough to lead to admission, not all Fall Chartemergency room visits, and do not include all county residents. Add to that an additional 349 “lift assists” Midland City firefighters are called to do each year, and you have a very significant number of falls that require some level of aid.

From July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014 there were a total of 421 hospitalizations due to falls and more than 80% of them happened to residents 60 years of age and older, with the highest risk age group being 80 to 89 years of age. This is equivalent to almost 175 residents per year in the City of Midland over the age of 60 who sustain injuries in a fall that are serious enough to require hospitalization. Far from being extraordinary circumstances, over 80% of these falls were from the same level or from a bed. Most occur in the home.

But there is good news! The vast majority of falls are preventable. The month of September is Fall Prevention Month, and there is no better time to take serious steps to reduce your risk.

Senior Services is proud to be part of a community-wide effort to bring various partners together to achieve a Safe Communities
accreditation designation for Midland. Our primary goals is to reduce the number of falls in our community. Watch for our booth at the
Senior Expo on October 14 and for presentations on reducing fall risk in the coming months.

In the meantime, consider signing up for a Matter of Balance program, find ways to become more fit, and take a good look around your home for fall hazards.