FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
September 22, 2010 Contact: William C. Gerrish
Hartford - Officials from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today said that falls are the leading cause of death due to injury for adults 65 years and older, resulting in 282 deaths in 2008.
The rate of fatal falls has doubled among Connecticut residents between 2000 and 2008. Falls were also responsible for over 6,000 hospitalizations and over 30,000 emergency department visits among older adults in Connecticut. Data on falls is collected through DPH’s Office of Vital Statistics and the Connecticut Hospital Association's Hospital Discharge Data Set.
“Falls are a major public health issue for Connecticut’s older adults, often leading to loss of independence, reduced mobility, and earlier admission to a nursing home,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. “But the good news is that many falls can be prevented. We need to increase awareness of the measures older adults can take to reduce their risk of falling.”
Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls for older adults. Experts recommend the following to help prevent falls by the elderly:
exercise programs with balance, strength, and flexibility components;
consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment;
having medications reviewed periodically for interactions that could lead to falls;
getting eyes checked annually; and,
making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.
Connecticut is joining 33 other states in observing the first day of fall, September 23, 2010 as National Fall Prevention Awareness Day. Connecticut is part of the Falls Free™ Coalition, which includes 34 states and 70 national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injury and death among older adults.
For more information on fall prevention, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/index.html
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state's leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.