A state agency started a new program in an effort to decrease the number of accidental falls of the elderly.
According to the Ohio Department of Aging, an older adult is injured in a fall every two minutes, and three die each day from accidental falls. Experts say the cost to hospital emergency rooms is astronomical. The shocking numbers are the reason the Ohio Governor’s Office teamed up with the Ohio Department of Aging to start the Steady U initiative, offering resources and tips on fall prevention for older adults, their families and caregivers.
“I think the initiative is going to be great for the community,” said Lisa Solley, Area Agency on Aging. “It involved the business community as well as everyone being aware of their surroundings.”
While most falls happen in the home, Solley said businesses must also be aware of safety issues when it comes to elderly customers.
“A lot of stores are quite large and they might have fall risks. It really behooves them to have something in place that they actually are aware of their surroundings,” said Solley. “A lot of older adults shop and need to have a safe place to have access to things and not having the aisles too crowded.”
One program that has proven to work for many older adults is The Matter of Balance Class. It is offered at senior centers throughout the four county area, including the Girard Multigenerational Center. The eight week course incorporates safety tips and exercise. It also deals with the fear of falling.
“We’ve got very positive feedback. It really has helped a lot of people,” said Laura Carey, Girard Multigenerational Center.
Linda Taleos of Girard said she was excited to take the course. She said that many people her age have a fear of falling and then don’t want to go out at all.
“For me it was a good thing because I’m kind of on the clumsy side and this helped,” said Taleos.
The Steady U initiative also offers online resources. The Area Agency on Aging might also be able to help with home modifications for some customers.