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Press Release

New Hampshire “Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow”
NH Observance Falls Prevention Awareness Day
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Public Information Office
(603) 271-9391

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Publish Date:
September 23, 2014

Concord, NH –New Hampshire is joining other states and the national Falls Free™ Coalition Tuesday, in observance of Falls Prevention Awareness Day which is held on the first day of fall, September 23, 2014. This year’s theme, Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow, seeks to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults.

"It's important to raise awareness about this issue, as falls and injuries from falls are a serious health threat to our older adults and they are preventable," said New Hampshire Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. "As our population ages, it's important for all sectors involved in the health of our seniors to realize that they play a role in helping our seniors age better. This includes aging safely by encouraging healthy behaviors such as being active, eating a balanced diet and taking medications safely, all of which play a role in fall prevention."

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for New Hampshire residents age 65 and older. Approximately 105 people in New Hampshire die every year due to some sort of fall. Through the New Hampshire Falls Risk Reduction Task Force, the State and its partners have been implementing falls reduction initiatives for over a decade.

New Hampshire's activities have grown from one centralized event during the first awareness day in 2008 to observances across the state this year. Some examples of community events include a film on falls and discussion panel, balance screens, community based classes in evidence based falls reduction programs such as Matter of Balance and Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance and more.

There are a number of things everyone can do to help prevent falls include:

  1. Increase your physical activity. Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs such as Tai Chi that increase strength and improve balance are especially good.
  2. See your eye doctor once a year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is key to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
  3. Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and ask whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Discuss things you can do to ensure you are taking your medicines safely.
  4. Remove environmental hazards. Look around the house for anything that could increase the risk of falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors, and unsteady furniture. Remove or modify these hazards.

For more information about the Falls Free™ Coalition or Falls Prevention Awareness Day visit http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/center-for-healthy-aging/falls-prevention/. For more information about falls prevention and a list of events taking place visit: http://www.nhfalls.org or http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html. To learn about the Division of Public Health Services, Injury Prevention Program visit: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/bchs/mch/injury.htm.

 
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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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