County of Los Angeles Community and Senior Services Office of Communications 3175 W. 6th Street, Suite 302 – Los Angeles, CA 90020 http://css.lacounty.gov
County of Los Angeles
Community and Senior Services
Office of Communications
3175 W. 6th Street, Suite 302 – Los Angeles, CA 90020
Cynthia D. Banks, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Patricia Senette-Holt
September 18, 2009 213.738-2065; 213.280-4144
DON’T SLIP UP! THE SECOND ANNUAL FALL PREVENTION AWARENESS
WEEK IS SEPTEMBER 20-27, 2009
(Los Angeles, CA)— The problem of falls is significant. According to data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) in California, more than 17.000 Angelenos age 65 and older in 2006 were hospitalized for fall-related injuries. In 2007, more than 5,200 older adults 65+ (1,445 men and 3,801 women) in Los Angeles County were hospitalized for hip fractures, a potentially deadly consequence of falls. That same year, the hip fracture hospitalization rate in the County for men was 321 per 100,000 persons hospitalized and for women 609 per 100,000 persons hospitalized. For women, this is significantly higher than the Healthy People 2010 target of 416 per 100,000 persons hospitalized.
“To highlight the importance of fall prevention education, on Tuesday, September 22, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will declare September 20-27, 2009 Fall Prevention Awareness Week,” says Cynthia Banks, Director, Community and Senior Services (CSS). During Fall Prevention Awareness Week, CSS/Area Agency on Aging will collaborate with the Fall Prevention Coalition—Los Angeles (FPC-LA) to educate seniors and the community regarding fall prevention strategies.
“Many falls can be avoided” says Dr. Jon Pynoos, PhD, Co-Director of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, University of Southern California, Andrus Gerontology Center. “In addition to substantial health care costs, falls can take a serious toll on older adults.”
Although the risk of falls increases dramatically with age, falls are not inevitable and can be reduced by interventions including:
· Regular physical activity to increase balance, strength, and flexibility
· A fall risk assessment by a health professional
· Modifications to minimize fall risk in the home environment.
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To address the issue of falls in Los Angeles, FPC-LA was developed with support from the Kaiser Foundation. The Coalition brings together a diverse membership—including CSS, L.A. City Department of Aging, Department of Public Health, Los Angeles Fire Department, numerous non-profit organizations, and health and senior service providers—who all share a commitment to preventing falls, one step at a time.
During the week of September 20-27, 2009, FPC-LA will educate older Angelinos and service providers about ways to reduce fall risk with posters, handouts, and place mats in community centers, senior housing, congregate meal sites, medical centers, and hospitals. Coalition member organizations will host educational presentations, blood pressure screenings, balance assessments, and medication reviews during the week.
This year, a National Fall Prevention Awareness Day has been established for the first day of fall. On September 22nd, more than 21 states will join California in promoting fall prevention.