September 17, 2012

Missouri works to prevent falls by seniors, the leading cause of injury for those 65 and older

Thirty-six statewide education and awareness events will be held in September

Gov. Jay Nixon has proclaimed Sept. 21 as Falls Prevention Awareness Day in Missouri. Thirty-six statewide events are planned for September. Forty-five other states are also hosting events to educate older people on how to prevent falls.

"Every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury," said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those 65 and older."

But falls are preventable, Donnelly added. "Older adults can take five simple actions to protect their independence and reduce their risk of falling," she said.

Seniors can:

  • Ask their doctor or physician to review their medications to reduce side effects that may cause dizziness or an unsteady gait.
  • Have their sight checked.
  • Begin a program of regular exercise.
  • Improve the lighting in their homes.
  • Review their homes for hazards such as loose rugs and clutter on the floors.

One of the 36 statewide events will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Jefferson City's Capital Mall Senior Center. Activities will include balance testing, medication consultations and other health screenings. A healthy-home exhibit will provide tips on how to prevent falls at home, and the Missouri Drifter Band will perform.

A list of Missouri fall-prevention events is available online at: