FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robyn Thaw (650) 573-393
September 16, 2013 San Mateo County Health System
County Joins Nation to Prevent Falls “One Step At A Time”
Fall prevention events to be held throughout September to educate County residents
SAN MATEO, Calif. - On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors signed a proclamation designating September 22-28 as Fall Prevention Awareness Week in San Mateo County. Led by the San Mateo County Fall Prevention Task Force, the County will join coalitions throughout California and the nation to bring attention to the seriousness of older adult falls.
This year’s theme, Preventing Falls—One Step at a Time, seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members to play a part in raising awareness and helping to prevent falls in the older adult population.
In the United States, every 29 minutes an older adult dies from a fall; every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury according to the National Council on Aging. County data shows that in 2011, 44 San Mateo County older adult residents died from fall-related injuries. In addition, 1,481 required hospitalization and 4,114 sought treatment at emergency departments due to falls.
It is estimated that more than one third of adults, 65 years and older, fall each year, and that about 50%of those who have a fall will experience a second fall within a year.
Prevention can significantly reduce falls among older adults. The National Council on Aging
recommends that older adults:
Consult with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment.
Engage in a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility
Have medications reviewed periodically.
Get eyes checked annually.
Ensure the home environment is safe and supportive.
Have hearing loss routinely assessed.
“While maintaining a healthy and independent lifestyle is something we strive for as we get older, that can all be lost in a matter of seconds by an older adult who falls,” said Patrice Christensen, RN, Coordinator for the County's Emergency Medical Services Injury Prevention Program and Co-Chair of San Mateo County Fall Prevention Task Force. "Very simple steps can be taken to reduce the risk of falling, such as removing throw rugs from the home, holding onto handrails when climbing stairs, and wearing the right type of shoes."
The San Mateo County Fall Prevention Task Force will be hosting activities and attending events throughout the month including:
September 18: San Bruno Senior Center – Fall Risk Assessment Clinic
September 19: Half Moon Bay Coastsiders’ Fall Prevention Presentation
September 25: Rotary Plaza Fall Prevention Presentation
September 28: San Mateo Senior Center’s Annual Health Fair
For more information, a complete list of activities or to obtain resource materials, visit
www.smcfallprevention.org or call 650- 573-3930.