The National Council on Aging (NCOA), the national voice for every person’s right to age well, is proud to join thousands of community-based organizations nationwide for Falls Prevention Awareness Week, September 18-24, 2022.
Since 2007, NCOA has sponsored this annual event during the first week of fall to spotlight the prevalence and cost of falls among older adults, as well as evidence-based falls prevention programs and steps individuals can take to reduce their risk.
As part of this year’s event, NCOA and the CDC Foundation are launching a new and improved Falls Free CheckUp, an online tool to help older adults check their risk for a fall and learn how to reduce it. The tool asks 13 yes/no questions and produces a score showing whether a person is at normal or high risk for a fall. It also provides recommended next steps, such as speaking with a doctor and falls prevention tips and resources. Individuals can sign up for reminders to schedule an appointment with their doctor and take the Falls Free CheckUp again in 6 months to see if their risk has changed.
“Regular checkups are an important way to stay healthy as we age—and that includes checking your risk for a fall,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director at NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging. “Falls threaten older adults’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging. The Falls Free CheckUp makes it easy to learn your risk and discover steps to reduce it.”
The questions in the Falls Free CheckUp are the same as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Stay Independent Checklist. Researchers have compared these questions to physician judgment to see how well they predict falls risk. CDC provided scientific support for the Falls Free CheckUp, and it was developed with assistance from NORC at the University of Chicago and supported by Amgen.
According to CDC, more than one-fourth of Americans age 65+ falls each year, and falls result in more than 3 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations.
“An important aspect of aging well and living a healthy life is identifying and addressing risk factors,” said Lisa Waddell, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer for the CDC Foundation. “Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a great time to remind older adults that there are steps they can take to stay safer and reduce their risk of injury.”
‘Strengthening Community Connections in Falls Prevention’: This year’s Falls Prevention Awareness Week theme
Falls prevention is a team effort and everyone has a role to play to reduce falls risk, including your local neighborhood.
Throughout Falls Prevention Awareness Week, community-based organizations and health care providers across the country will be sharing the Falls Free CheckUp, as well as providing education, in-person screenings, and evidence-based falls prevention programs to encourage older adults to understand and reduce their risk.
For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org/Falls.