The Ohio Department of Aging
Throughout September, the Ohio Department of Aging partnered with individuals, groups, and organizations around the state to raise awareness of the epidemic of older adult falls and the many things older adults can do to reduce their risk. The fifth-annual “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” campaign boasted 114 local walking events or groups. In all, 13,242 individuals walked 50,693 miles, or 126.7 million steps, in the name of older adult falls prevention.
One in three older adults will fall this year. An older Ohioan is injured in a fall every five minutes on average, and two older Ohioans are hospitalized each hour. Three older Ohioans die each day because of a fall-related injury. While older adults make up nearly 17 percent of our population, they account for more than 87 percent of fatal falls.
“Older adult falls are a community issue, which is why ’10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls’ engages partners at all points in our communities,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the department. “We thank all our partners for making falls prevention a priority. We far exceeded our goal and posted a record number of steps.”
Regular physical activity, such as walking, is one of the most basic things older adults can do to reduce their risk. “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” encourages older adults to remain active as the weather begins to turn colder. The agency’s goal is to have at least 4,000 Ohioans of all ages walk at least one mile to raise awareness.
Community partners volunteered to create local walking groups or events. The events were spread around the state and throughout the month, with the majority taking place on National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, Sept. 23. Partners included state agencies, area agencies on aging, senior centers, local health districts, local school districts, health care providers, long-term care providers, Alzheimer’s Association Chapters, businesses, and more. Individuals also contributed by posting photos of themselves walking to social media with the hashtags #10MStepsOH and #PreventFalls.
“’10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls’ starts the conversation. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners through our STEADY U Ohio initiative to promote other ways to put an end to older adult falls,” added McElroy.
The Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio initiative is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative to raise awareness of falls and work with partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities while exploring new and innovative approaches to prevention. Among other strategies, STEADY U Ohio recommends older adults evaluate the three H’s – their home, health, and habits:
- Home: Remove or secure throw rugs; improve lighting especially near stairs; install grab bars in the bathroom; rearrange the home to make frequently used items easier to reach;
- Health: Ask your doctor about a falls risk assessment and talk about medicines you take and whether they increase your risk for falls; have your hearing and vision checked annually; and
- Habits: Stay active to build muscle strength and improve balance; resist the urge to limit activity due to a fear of falling; slow down and think through tasks; stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet that includes calcium-rich foods; enroll in a community-based falls prevention program, such as “A Matter of Balance.”
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for more tips and resources. Contact your area agency on aging for information about “A Matter of Balance” and other local, proven falls prevention programs. Call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
2019 “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” partners
- Altercare Coshocton
- Alzheimer’s Association
- Appalachian Ohio Fall Prevention Coalition
- Area Agency on Aging 3
- Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.
- Area Agency on Aging, PSA 2
- Area Agency on Aging, Region 9, Inc.
- Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc.
- Ashland County Health Department
- Aultman Hospital
- Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Aging and Disability
- Carr Center
- Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
- Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging
- Central Ohio Primary Care
- Cincinnati State Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
- City of Cleveland Department of Aging
- Clermont Senior Services
- Cleveland Regional Ombudsman Program
- Community Partnership on Aging
- Coshocton Senior Center
- Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
- Crawford County Council on Aging
- Defiance County General Health District
- Delaware Court Healthcare Center
- Direction Home Akron Canton
- Direction Home of Eastern Ohio
- Erie County Health Department
- Fairfield County ODOT District 5
- Fairhill Partners
- Green Hills Community
- Greene County Public Health
- Greene Inc.
- Grove City Lacrosse Club
- Hillandale Communities
- Holmes County General Health District
- Integrate Athens
- Kendal at Home
- Kingston Mound Manor Residents
- La La Love Healthcare, LLC
- Licking County Aging Program
- Meals on Wheels – Fairfield County
- Memorial Hospital of Marysville
- Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center Trauma Program
- Muskingum County Center for Seniors
- Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging
- Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
- Ohio Department of Administrative Services
- Ohio Department of Aging
- Ohio Department of Commerce
- Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
- Ohio Department of Medicaid
- Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
- Ohio Emergency Management Agency
- Ohio Health Care Association
- Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board
- Ohio Veterans Home – Sandusky
- Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities
- Ottawa County Senior Resources & Riverview Health Care Campus
- Preble County Council on Aging
- Prime Time Office on Aging
- ProMedica Total Rehab
- Putnam County Council on Aging, Inc.
- Riverside 9 Silver Spine Team
- Salvation Army Center Hill Senior Center
- Salvation Army of Canton Citadel
- Scioto County Department of Job and Family Services
- SourcePoint – Stepping Up to Prevent Falls Coalition of Delaware County
- State Library of Ohio
- Stepping with the Seniors
- United Seniors of Athens County
- University Hospitals St. John Medical Center
- Vantage Aging
- Washington Township Enrichment Center
- Williams County Department of Aging
- Worthen Walking Group
- Yellow Springs Senior Center
- Youngstown State University’s Departments of Physical Therapy and Gerontology
About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.