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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

Sept. 10, 2015

Help take "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" on Falls Prevention Awareness Day

STEADY U Ohio, community partners take aim at epidemic of older adult falls

COLUMBUS - One in three Ohioans over age 60 will fall this year, and for many of them, that fall could lead to a life-changing injury. However, falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. To celebrate National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 23 and to raise awareness of the many things our elders can do to minimize their risks, the STEADY U Ohio initiative is asking all Ohioans to help take "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" throughout September.

"Regular physical activity, like walking 15-30 minutes a day, strengthens muscles, improves balance and increases stamina, and is one of the most basic things you can do to reduce your risk of falling." said Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., director of the Ohio Department of Aging, which operates the STEADY U Ohio initiative. "We want all Ohioans to know about the little changes we all can make to our homes, health and habits that will help us and our loved ones stay on our feet."

"10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" is a statewide campaign to get as many Ohioans of all ages as possible to walk at least one mile on or around Sept. 23 in the name of falls prevention. You can help achieve this goal in one of two ways:

  1. Participate in a "10 Million Steps" event in your community. Dozens of community organizations have partnered with STEADY U Ohio to sponsor local walking events with information and resources to help you prevent falls. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for the list of events.
  2. Any time in September, take a one-mile walk by yourself or with family or friends, and post a selfie of your efforts to social media using the hashtags #PreventFalls and #10MStepsOH. Posts will be counted toward the state's goal.

Director Burman also challenges all Ohioans who care for or serve individuals who are unable to walk on their own to participate in "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" on their behalf.

"Whether you're a caregiver or a case worker, nurse's assistant or head of nursing, falls prevention should be a big part of what you do every day," Burman added. "You can join the cause and create a culture of falls prevention by figuratively walking a mile in their shoes."

Individuals participating in "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" on another's behalf should include the hashtag #MileInTheirShoes to their social media posts.

Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for falls prevention tips and resources designed for an array of audiences. While there, you can take an online falls risk assessment and learn about "A Matter of Balance," a community-based falls prevention program available in all 88 Ohio counties.

Basic things older adults can do to lower their risk of falls:

  • Engage in 15-30 minutes of simple exercise like walking or swimming every day.
  • Talk to your doctor about falls and your risk at every visit; talk about any recent falls.
  • Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist for combinations that may increase your risk.
  • Get your hearing and vision checked at least annually; use eyeglasses and hearing aids as prescribed.
  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.
  • Join a balance and exercise or falls prevention program like tai chi or "A Matter of Balance."

"Let's put an end to the falls epidemic in Ohio, one person and one step at a time," added Director Burman.

About STEADY U Ohio - Falls are an epidemic among our elders and are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths in Ohioans age 65-plus. STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Aging, and supported by Ohio government and state business partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities, identify opportunities for new initiatives and coordinate a statewide educational campaign to bring falls prevention to the forefront of planning for individuals, families, health care providers, business and community leaders and all Ohioans. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.


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