“10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” Exceeds Statewide Goal to Raise Awareness of Older Adult Falls
Community partners post record numbers in fifth-annual campaign
Throughout September, the Ohio Department of Aging partnered with individuals, groups, and organizations around the state to raise awareness of the epidemic of older adult falls and the many things older adults can do to reduce their risk. The fifth-annual “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” campaign boasted 114 local walking events or groups. In all, 13,242 individuals walked 50,693 miles, or 126.7 million steps, in the name of older adult falls prevention.
One in three older adults will fall this year. An older Ohioan is injured in a fall every five minutes on average, and two older Ohioans are hospitalized each hour. Three older Ohioans die each day because of a fall-related injury. While older adults make up nearly 17 percent of our population, they account for more than 87 percent of fatal falls.
“Older adult falls are a community issue, which is why ’10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls’ engages partners at all points in our communities,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the department. “We thank all our partners for making falls prevention a priority. We far exceeded our goal and posted a record number of steps.”
Regular physical activity, such as walking, is one of the most basic things older adults can do to reduce their risk. “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” encourages older adults to remain active as the weather begins to turn colder. The agency’s goal is to have at least 4,000 Ohioans of all ages walk at least one mile to raise awareness.
Community partners volunteered to create local walking groups or events. The events were spread around the state and throughout the month, with the majority taking place on National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, Sept. 23. Partners included state agencies, area agencies on aging, senior centers, local health districts, local school districts, health care providers, long-term care providers, Alzheimer’s Association Chapters, businesses, and more. Individuals also contributed by posting photos of themselves walking to social media with the hashtags #10MStepsOH and #PreventFalls.
“’10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls’ starts the conversation. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners through our STEADY U Ohio initiative to promote other ways to put an end to older adult falls,” added McElroy.
The Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio initiative is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative to raise awareness of falls and work with partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities while exploring new and innovative approaches to prevention. Among other strategies, STEADY U Ohio recommends older adults evaluate the three H’s – their home, health, and habits:
- Home: Remove or secure throw rugs; improve lighting especially near stairs; install grab bars in the bathroom; rearrange the home to make frequently used items easier to reach;
- Health: Ask your doctor about a falls risk assessment and talk about medicines you take and whether they increase your risk for falls; have your hearing and vision checked annually; and
- Habits: Stay active to build muscle strength and improve balance; resist the urge to limit activity due to a fear of falling; slow down and think through tasks; stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet that includes calcium-rich foods; enroll in a community-based falls prevention program, such as “A Matter of Balance.”
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for more tips and resources. Contact your area agency on aging for information about “A Matter of Balance” and other local, proven falls prevention programs. Call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
2019 “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” partners
Appalachian Ohio Fall Prevention Coalition
Area Agency on Aging 3
Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.
Area Agency on Aging, PSA 2
Area Agency on Aging, Region 9, Inc.
Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc.
Ashland County Health Department
Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Aging and Disability
Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging
Central Ohio Primary Care
Cincinnati State Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
City of Cleveland Department of Aging
Clermont Senior Services
Cleveland Regional Ombudsman Program
Community Partnership on Aging
Coshocton Senior Center
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
Crawford County Council on Aging
Defiance County General Health District
Delaware Court Healthcare Center
Direction Home Akron Canton
Direction Home of Eastern Ohio
Erie County Health Department
Fairfield County ODOT District 5
Green Hills Community
Greene County Public Health
Grove City Lacrosse Club
Holmes County General Health District
Kendal at Home
Kingston Mound Manor Residents
La La Love Healthcare, LLC
Licking County Aging Program
Meals on Wheels - Fairfield County
Memorial Hospital of Marysville
Mercy Health - St. Vincent Medical Center Trauma Program
Muskingum County Center for Seniors
Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
Ohio Department of Administrative Services
Ohio Department of Aging
Ohio Department of Commerce
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Ohio Department of Medicaid
Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
Ohio Emergency Management Agency
Ohio Health Care Association
Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board
Ohio Veterans Home - Sandusky
Ohio HealthOpportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities
Ottawa County Senior Resources & Riverview Health Care Campus
Preble County Council on Aging
Prime Time Office on Aging
ProMedica Total Rehab
Putnam County Council on Aging, Inc.
Riverside 9 Silver Spine Team
Salvation Army Center Hill Senior Center
Salvation Army of Canton Citadel
Scioto County Department of Job and Family Services
SourcePoint - Stepping Up to Prevent Falls Coalition of Delaware County
State Library of Ohio
Stepping with the Seniors
United Seniors of Athens County
University Hospitals St. John Medical Center
Washington Township Enrichment Center
Williams County Department of Aging
Worthen Walking Group Yellow Springs Senior Center
Youngstown State University's Departments of Physical Therapy and Gerontology
About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov