September 19, 2013
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

Preventing Falls One Step at a Time

September 22 is Falls Prevention Day

MADISON-Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury and death among Wisconsin's older adults. In fact, it's estimated that every hour in Wisconsin at least four older adults fall and require medical attention in an emergency department or hospital. That's why Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed September 22, 2013 Falls Prevention Awareness Day in Wisconsin, part of National Falls Prevention Awareness Month.

"Anyone with a family member who is advanced in age worries constantly about them taking a fall and becoming injured, or falling and lying helpless, unable to call for help," said Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades. "Fortunately, there are many preventive measures that seniors can take to keep safe."

Some of the strategies that can help older adults reduce the risk of falling include:

  • Engaging in physical activity, including balance, strength training, and flexibility;
  • Getting a falls risk assessment from a health care provider;
  • Having a pharmacist periodically review medications;
  • An annual eye exam;
  • Ensuring that the home and community environments are safe and supportive.

Fall-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits for Wisconsin residents 65 years old and older result in more than $500 million in annual healthcare costs, most of which is paid for by Medicare. Community-based programs combined with public health and private health care practices can reduce the likelihood of falls.

For information about community-based fall prevention programs and a listing of programs available in your area, visit the website of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging at

Find more information about falls prevention at