Events are taking place in commemoration of National Falls Prevention Awareness Week, which occurs annually around the first day of fall
New York, NY – The New York City Falls Prevention Coalition, co-chaired by the Department for the Aging and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has organized several events to raise awareness and provide information to older adults on how to keep themselves safe and healthy. The events are taking place during Falls Prevention Awareness Week – Monday, September 18 through Friday, September 22 – the first week of fall, and this year’s theme is From Awareness to Action.
Nationally, there are about three-million visits to the emergency department each year as the result of an older adult fall, and falls continue to be a leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans. In New York City there are approximately 30,000 visits to emergency departments each year because of an older adult fall.
On Tuesday, September 19 the Department for the Aging, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Parks, and other members of the Falls Prevention Coalition, will be hosting an event in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park, beginning at 10:00am, to raise awareness and provide falls prevention tips to attendees.
All week long, Falls Prevention Coalition members across the city are hosting events focused on awareness and real action. Featured falls prevention tools will include hearing assessments, medication reviews, an exercise demonstration and distribution of How to Prevent Falls: A Home Safety Checklist.
“A fall can happen when we least expect it and can take a serious toll on the life of an older adult,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “Falls Prevention Awareness Week is an opportunity for us to shine a light on this important issue that affects tens of thousands of older adults each year. I’m proud to stand alongside our Health Commissioner, our Parks Commissioner, and several other partners who share our commitment to helping New Yorkers avoid falls and continue living independently.”
“Falls can be devastating for older adults and can steal away precious mobility and quality of life. Falls can even lead to serious injury or sometimes even death,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Fortunately, there are proven strategies for preventing falls and all of us can help. Family, friends, medical providers, and older adults themselves all play a role in making New York City the most age-inclusive city in the world.”
“Our public parks are spaces of relaxation and recreation for New Yorkers of all generations," said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. "We’re proud to partner with our sister agencies to raise awareness and spread this vital information on how older adults can stay safe. Educational events like this are just one of the many ways we work with our partners across the city to keep our public spaces accessible and safe for all.”
In addition to the co-chairs - Department for the Aging and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene - the New York City Falls Prevention Coalition also includes representatives from government, nonprofit and health care organizations, and its goal is to promote and implement proven and promising strategies to reduce the incidence and burden of falls among older adults.
Older people experiencing blindness or vision impairment are at a higher risk for falls. Vision rehabilitation services enable older people with vision impairments to manage independently and navigate indoor and outdoor environments safely” Executive Director/CEO VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Nancy D. Miller. “According to the National Eye Institute only three-percent of people who could benefit from these services ever receive them. Thanks to the work of the Coalition, more older New York City residents with vision loss are aware of the many free services and training available. If you don’t see something, say something. Get help and reduce the risk for falls.
"At New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, falls in adults over age 65 represent 90% of trauma admissions to our emergency department,” said Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and an associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Brenna Farmer. “As a Level II Trauma Center, we recognize the harm these falls can have on our older populations and the importance of prevention. Our hospital is proud to be a part of the New York City Falls Prevention Coalition and is deeply committed to providing not only critical care for injuries, but also collaborating with local senior centers and community-based organizations to support fall prevention efforts among our older adults.
“Falls are the leading cause of injury for all patients seen at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Level 1 Trauma Center. Our goal is to care for our community not only by treating those patients affected by falls, but also by preventing the falls from happening in the first place” said Trauma Program Manager, New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Jean Fitzgerald, BSN, CEN, TNCC. “Through injury prevention activities such as Tai Chi, A Matter of Balance, our annual Falls Symposium, and weekly falls prevention Zoom classes, we strive to give the older adults in our community the tools they need to feel safe at home.”
“Untreated hearing loss in older adults is associated with a three times greater risk of falling as compared to normal hearing peers,” said Executive Director of the Center for Hearing and Communication Dr. Laurie Hanin. “CHC is proud to be a member of the NYC Falls Prevention Coalition. Any adult who feels that their hearing is not what it used to be should have a hearing test to determine if treatment is needed. You’ll be reducing your risk of falling and improving your overall wellness and quality of life.”
“The Trauma Division at Maimonides Medical Center is committed to reducing falls in Brooklyn. Mark your calendar for September 19th at 11 am during Fall Prevention Awareness Week, when we partner with the Brooklyn Public Library to provide a presentation focusing on important aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and fall prevention strategies” said Injury Prevention/Education Outreach Coordinator, Division of Trauma, Maimonides Medical Center Gia Ramsey.
“Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a national health campaign that is observed the week of September 18-22, and provides an opportunity to raise awareness about how to lower falls risk among older adults” said Injury Prevention Coordinator, Trauma Department, Staten Island University Hospital, Julia Glauboch, BSN, RN. “Staten Island University Hospital is proud to continue to educate older adults on preventing falls through continuing evidence-based fall prevention programing that aims to educate them on medical, personal, and environmental risk factors meant to empower them to lower their risk of falling.”
A full list of events taking place during Falls Prevention Awareness Week can be found on the Department for the Aging’s website