All long-term care providers are invited in the coming week to promote falls prevention tools and best practices. Falls are the top cause of debilitating injuries and death, and a major reason for hospital admissions and subsequent rehabilitation activities, experts say.

The 16th annual observance’s theme is “From Awareness to Action.” The week coincides each year with the start of autumn (fall) and is sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Administration for Community Living.

A toolkit with educational and promotional materials is available.

“In addition to pain and suffering, and the high cost of rehabilitation, falls with or without injury also carry a heavy quality of life impact,” said leaders of the NCOA’s Falls Free Initiative.

They note many reasons to focus on falls prevention. Among them are these facts generated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65 or older) falls in the U.S.
  • More than one-fourth of Americans or 65 and older falls each year.
  • Falls result in more than 3 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including more than 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 32,000 deaths.
  • Each year about $50 billion is spent on medical costs related to non-fatal fall injuries and $754 million is spent related to fatal falls.

The 2015 Falls Free® National Action Plan is a framework for what older Americans advocates believe should be done to curb “the growing number of falls and fall-related injuries among older adults.”

This plan has been updated since its inception and is the byproduct of the 36 recommendations and strategies collected during the Falls Prevention Summit, a White House Conference on Aging event held in April 2015. 

The Falls Free® Coalition originated as a loose-knit organization of summit attendees and their organizations, which has since grown to 70 organizational members.