Maui Now : Hawai‘i DOH Launches Senior Fall Prevention Campaign
To better prevent fall-related injuries and fatalities in kupuna, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has launched its annual Senior Fall Prevention Awareness campaign, which runs from June 18 through Aug. 19, 2018.
The campaign features an educational video about fall prevention, new public service announcements, free medication reviews, balance tests, tai chi workshops and community presentations that focus on preventing falls among older adults.
Fall-related injuries and fatalities among Hawai‘i seniors continue to increase each year at a concerning rate. Every year, accidental falls and fall-related injuries amongst Hawai‘i seniors cause an average of 94 fatalities, 1,940 hospitalizations and 8,050 emergency room visits.Statistics from DOH’s Emergency Medical Services & Injury Prevention Branch show that falls disproportionately affect the elderly and the most vulnerable population is 65-years and older.
“We know that fall-related injuries can take a serious emotional, physical, and financial toll on our kupuna and their caregivers, and can also impact the overall healthcare system,” said Danette Wong Tomiyasu, DOH deputy director of health resources. “It is estimated that hospital costs associated with fall-related injuries are nearly $120 million per year in Hawai‘i. As our state’s elderly population continues to grow, it is crucial to educate kupuna and their loved ones about how to best prevent falls and the injuries falls can cause.”
DOH offers the following advice to seniors, family members and caregivers to prevent falls and fall-related injuries:
- Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medications yearly
- Get an annual eye exam
- If you live alone, get a life-saving Personal Electronic Safety Device
- Make your home safer by removing fall hazards and improving lighting
- Exercise regularly to increase balance and flexibility
DOH and the Hawai‘i Fall Prevention Consortium are sponsoring the campaign in collaboration with Foodland Supermarkets, Times Supermarkets, KTA Superstores, Safeway Supermarkets, Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Community Pharmacy Association, Project Vision Hawai‘i and City Mill.
The Hawai‘i Fall Prevention Consortium was founded in 2003 with support from DOH’s Injury Prevention and Control Program. The consortium includes government agencies, professional associations, non-profit organizations, hospitals, care facilities and senior organizations.