Steady As You Go Falls Prevention Program

Missouri joined 33 other states and the Falls Free™ Coalition to kick off the statewide Falls Prevention Awareness Month in September.

MA4, through its 10 local Area Agencies on Aging, will be sponsoring falls prevention workshops throughout September as a part of its Steady As You Go campaign in more than 40 communities throughout the state. Steady as You Go (SAYGO) was introduced earlier this year by MA4 in partnership with the Missouri Show Me Falls Free Coalition to provide critical information to seniors on ways to prevent falls and reduce fall-related injuries.

“Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths in older adults in Missouri and account for more than $300 million in medical costs. In 2006, there were 43,150 ER visits and hospitalizations due to falls among older Missourians; 575 resulted in fatalities,” said Catherine Edwards, executive director of MA4. “Falls are not an inevitable result of aging. We need to raise awareness that preventive measures work and can keep seniors safe across Missouri.  Falls Prevention Awareness Day and our Steady as You Go campaign are designed to put this issue front and center so that we can begin to turn these numbers around,” added Edwards.

Like Missouri, national statistics show that falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for Americans 65 and older. More than 18,000 older Americans die every year because of a fall, and the rate has risen dramatically over the last 10 years.

“When older adults fall, it often leads to a loss of independence, reduced mobility, and earlier admission to a nursing home,” said Lynn Beattie, Vice President of Injury Prevention with the National Council on Aging, and national director of the Falls Free™ Coalition. “But the good news is, through appropriate risk management – falls are preventable.”

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population. Missouri’s Steady as You Go campaign focuses on what experts recommend:

  • a physical activity regimen with balance strength training and flexibility components,
  • consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment,
  • having medications reviewed periodically,
  • getting eyes checked annually, and
  • making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

Missouri’s network of area agencies on aging will be sponsoring Falls Prevention Day and Steady as You Go workshops and events. Events include balance screening and home safety assessments at the Higginsville Senior Center in Higginsville, MO; a Tai Chi demonstration at the Carroll County Senior Center in Carrollton, MO; Falls Prevention Workshop and Health Fair at the St. Peters Senior Center/Aging and Disability Resource Center in St. Peters, MO; and a presentation entitled “Get Out of Your Chair—Refuse to Fall” at the Jackson Senior Center in Jackson, MO.

More than 40 Missouri communities will be presenting special programs in September. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for details.

Missouri, through MA4, is part of the Falls Free™ Coalition, which includes 34 states and 70 national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injury and death among older adults.

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