Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries, and injury-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in Arizona for people 65 years of age and older. Falls can result in serious injuries such as fractures and traumatic brain injuries, and in some cases can be fatal. Falls, and the fear of falling, can also contribute to social isolation, and a resulting deterioration of chronic health conditions and overall quality of life.
Our Office of Injury Prevention reports one in three Arizonans over 65 years will have a fall injury this year, and every 15 minutes an older adult is seen in an emergency department. In 2014 nearly three out of four of unintentional fatal injuries were among adults 65 years and older in Arizona, and tragically, two Arizonans over the age of 65 die per day.
The good news is that falls and aging are not synonymous, and older Arizonans adults can lower and even prevent their risk for falls. We are working on a public awareness campaign in partnership with KTAR Radio, www.arizonasports.com; and ESPN Phoenix 620AM, in an effort to reach a large portion of older Arizonans. With public messaging on both radio and online digital media that highlights simple prevention measures, such as a listing of local resources (e.g. age appropriate physical activities such as yoga and Tai Chi classes) and “the top ten things you can do or buy for less than $20.00 that lower the risks for falls,” many Arizonans are learning ways to prevent falls in ways that are both immediately accessible and affordable, which is particularly critical for older adults on fixed incomes. For more information, please visit www.AZStopFalls.org.