September 05, 2023
Falls Prevention Awareness Month helps older adults in Missouri stay falls free
Falling is not a normal part of aging and are preventable
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is committed to empowering older adults in Missouri to reduce their risk of falls, which is one of the most significant causes of severe injuries and death among people over age 65. This September, DHSS is partnering with the National Council on Aging to bring attention to Falls Prevention Awareness Month.
“DHSS has a strong history of helping older residents in Missouri,” said Mindy Ulstad, bureau chief for the Bureau of Senior Programs within DHSS. “We’re proud to be part of this national education and outreach initiative helping millions of older adults age well and stay falls free. We encourage people to the events this month and visit our website to learn more about falls prevention.”
Most recent data shows 316,215 Missourians over the age of 65 reported falling in the past twelve months. DHSS encourages older adults to focus on these tips to reduce falls:
- Check your home for fall risks: Use this falls prevention checklist to find ways to make your home safer as you age.
- Stay physically active and focus on overall wellness: Do these simple falls prevention exercises at home or find a fitness class at your local area agency on aging. Staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and getting quality sleep can all improve your overall wellness and decrease your risk of falling.
- Get an annual fall screening: The CDC recommends that all adults over the age of 65 get an annual fall screening. If you have additional symptoms, such as dizziness or light-headedness, you may need a fall screening earlier.
- Get regular medical checks: Changes in vision, hearing and foot stability may cause you to fall. Ask your medical provider how often you should have your vision and hearing checked. If you receive new eyewear or hearing aids, take time to get used to them. If you are noticing changes in your foot strength or the way you walk, talk to your medical provider about these changes.
- Tell your medical provider if you have fallen: A fall can alert your medical provider to a possible problem and help them provide you with ways to prevent future accidents. These steps may include things like changing medication, or seeing a physical or occupational therapist.
“By creating awareness about fall risks and providing education around fall prevention, we can take proactive steps to protect the health, safety, and independence of our older adults,” said Kelsey Weitzel, the Show Me Falls Free Missouri coordinator.
As part of this national outreach campaign, DHSS will share information about events in Missouri to raise awareness among older adults. Events raising awareness about falls prevention and tools to prevent falls can be found at Health.Mo.Gov.
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) promotes health and safety in Missouri through prevention, collaboration, education, innovation and response. The vision of DHSS is the optimal health and safety for all Missourians, in all communities, for life. Learn more at health.mo.gov.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or zip code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.