DOVER — Fall-related injuries are exceedingly common, and Gov. John Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long are making Delawareans aware by designating Sept. 20-24 as “Falls Prevention Awareness Week.”
One in four U.S. adults over the age of 65 experiences a fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Young children and older adults are the most likely to have a fall that results in broken bones, brain injury and/or permanent disabilities.
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States, the leading cause of death in adults over 65, and the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for almost all age groups. Prevention in older adults encompasses regular vision and hearing checkups, a healthy diet, hydration and exercise, since falls can be caused by vision problems, medication, poor balance or weak leg muscles.
To help foster a fall-free Delaware, the Delaware Coalition for Injury Prevention team is asking communities, businesses, schools, organizations and households to follow their safety advice.
Walkways should be smooth, free of debris and well lit, entrance mats should lie flat with no corners curled up, and handrails, ramps and automatic doors are strongly encouraged where possible. Curb cuts or other detectable warning surfaces should also be checked to ensure they meet state/local safety codes and the guidelines provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
There are also several programs throughout the state to help Delawareans improve balance and prevent falls. Older Delawareans can enroll in A Matter of Balance class by calling Volunteer Delaware 50+ at 302-255-9882 in New Castle County and 302-515-3020 in Kent and Sussex counties. ChristianaCare offers BingoCize, an evidence-based fall prevention program integrating Bingo and exercise, as well as the ThinkFirst to Prevent Falls program, which can be done either virtually or in person.
The DCIP’s Falls Prevention Team and the Modern Maturity Center will hold a Falls Prevention Bingo and Resource Fair at the center on Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more about falls and falls prevention, refer to the CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries program at Cdc.gov/steadi/index.html and the National Council on Aging at Ncoa.org/.