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National Falls Prevention Awareness

You may have seen news stories earlier this autumn that addressed fall prevention. That's because the National Council on Aging named a day in September Falls Prevention Day. This day was dedicated to raising awareness about the danger of falling, especially among older adults who are at greater risk and more likely to suffer more severe impacts when they fall.

Falls are the leading cause of injury, deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits among adults aged 65 and older. The most common injuries from falls are bone fractures, lacerations or traumatic brain injuries. On average, 900 New Yorkers aged 65 years and older die each year from injuries sustained from falls; in addition, more than 132,000 suffering falls require hospital treatment, according to the State Health Department. Of those hospitalized, more than 25 percent suffer a hip fracture and 12 percent suffer a traumatic brain injury.

Studies have found that a combination approach can reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend: a physical activity regimen that includes balance, strength training and flexibility components; consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically; having vision checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

For more information on fall prevention visit the Department of Health web site at health.ny.gov/prevention/injury_prevention/falls.htm. To locate fall prevention programs in your area, contact your local Office for the Aging, which can be found at: aging.ny.gov/NYSOFA/LocalOffices.cfm.

Assemblyman Will Barclay represents residents of Assembly District 120, which includes Lysander. He can be reached by mail at 200 North Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by phone (598-5185).

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