September 23rd, 2014, the first day of fall, marks the 6th annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Falls are the leading cause of injury related emergency department visits for older adults, the major cause of hip fractures, and responsible for more than half of fatal head injuries. Numerous states and countries worldwide are now coalescing to address this growing public health issue; many are working closely with occupational therapy practitioners as key contributors to reducing falls.
This year's theme, Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow, seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population. Forty-three states participated in Falls Prevention Awareness Day last year, joining more than 70 national organizations, including the American Occupational Therapy Association, other professional associations, and federal agencies that comprise the Falls Free© Initiative. If your organization participates in a falls prevention activity, please contact your State Falls Prevention Coalition to make sure you are counted by NCOA.
The NCOA's Center for Healthy Aging Web site for Falls Prevention Awareness Day 2014 has a variety of tools and resources for states and communities to use to promote falls prevention.
In addition, AOTA has created a list of ideas to educate members of your community on occupational therapy's role in helping to reduce falls .
Share your activities for Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and get ideas from others, in AOTA's Gerontology Special Interest Section Forum.
The Falls Prevention Toolkit is now available! Using this toolkit, which includes a how-to guide, PowerPoint presentations, scripts, handouts, and a flyer, you will have everything you need to prepare and deliver a presentation on Falls Prevention. Download it here.