Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres and Susan Neff, the department’s representative for the National Falls Free Coalition, recently participated in the inaugural Falls Prevention Event hosted by the Berks County Falls Free Coalition.
“We may assume that falls are just a normal part of getting older, but that is certainly not the case. In fact, most falls can be prevented, and we need to do everything we can to make falls prevention a priority for public health. Falls threaten the health and independence of older Pennsylvanians, and the risks associated with falls should not be overlooked,” said Secretary Torres. “I would like to thank the Berks County Falls Free Coalition for the great work that it’s doing to assist older adults in avoiding falls. In addition, the Department of Aging is here to help older adults maintain a good quality of life by increasing awareness of falls prevention, providing educational programs and encouraging all Pennsylvanians to take steps to protect themselves and their older loved ones who may be at increased risk of suffering from falls.”
The event provided resources including health screenings and exercises, as well as information on nutrition, mental health and wellness to individuals age 55 and older on how they can prevent falls, trips and improve their balance.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging provides resources for older adults on how to assess their risk for falls and how to prevent them. The department also offers a fall risk screening and prevention program to adults 50 years of age and older.
“In addition to overseeing the Department of Aging’s Health & Wellness Programs, which includes falls prevention programs, I serve as the leader of Pennsylvania’s Falls Free Coalition. In the commonwealth, the CDC estimates that more than 500,000 older adults have a fall each year. Although falls among older adults are very common, events such as the Falls Prevention Event in Berks County and the programs offered by the department provide simple and easy steps an older adult can do that could reduce their risk of falls and potentially save their life,” said Neff.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among people 65 and older in the commonwealth, accounting for 69.2% of fatal traumatic brain injuries, and resulting in 1,781 deaths and 59,2267 hospitalizations in 2019, according to the Bureau of Health Statistics and Research. Older adults who experience a fall may face depression, loss of mobility and loss of functional independence.
The event coincided with Falls Prevention Awareness Week, which was September 20-24. Governor Wolf recently presented the department with a proclamation commemorating the week in the commonwealth, which is also recognized nationwide by the National Council on Aging.
Learn more about the various other programs offered by the department here.