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Falls Prevention Awareness Day is September 21, 2018. Beware of falling caution sign with a background of fall colored tree leaves.Benton County Public Health Director, Melissa Smith, RN, BSN, is sharing the following information of public interest. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Iowa Department on Aging and Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition join partners across the state in recognizing September 21, 2018, as Falls Prevention Awareness Day.

“Iowa averages 10,825 falls-related hospitalizations every year,” said Maggie Ferguson of the IDPH Office of Disability, Injury and Violence Prevention. “The total charges for hospital stays in Iowa related to falls is $298 million per year.” The consequences of falls are not just financial; falls also contribute to a decreased ability to perform household tasks, a reduced quality of life, and may result in loss of independence for those over age 65. Additionally, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.

Falls are not a natural consequence of aging; injuries from falls are largely preventable and evidence-based programs can reduce falls through exercise programs to improve balance and strength, manage medications, reduce hazards in the home and improve vision. One evidence-based exercise program is the Arthritis Foundation’s “Walk With Ease.” A demonstration and walk will be held as part of Falls Prevention Day activities at the Iowa Capitol September 21 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Events will begin in the Capitol Rotunda.

Everyone is welcome to attend in person or join on social media during a livestream broadcast of the event on the IDPH Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth.

For more information about falls prevention, visit https://www.idph.iowa.gov/falls-prevention. To learn more about the Walk With Ease program, visit https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tools-resources/walk-with-ease/.