Adult Fall Prevention
Every year, one in three Americans ages 65 and older falls. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Falls have been shown to cause older adults to limit their activities, which leads to decreased mobility and further increased risk of falling. During 2005–2009, the Alaska Trauma Registry (ATR) identified 3,356 cases of fall-related injury hospitalizations for older Alaskans, which accounted for 79% of all recorded injury hospitalizations in the registry. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $54.9 billion (in 2007 dollars), making fall-related injuries one of the 20 most expensive medical conditions in the country.
As part of the Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion efforts to reduce the risks of falls in Alaska, the Injury Prevention Program provides the free Alaska Workout to Go booklets to clinics, senior centers, health fairs and individuals. Dr. Ward Hurlburt, Alaska's Chief Medical Officer, is featured in the public service announcement that encourages people to have a Medicare-paid fall risk screening with their health care provider.
The Injury Prevention Program recently conducted focus groups with older Alaskans to gain insight into their beliefs and perspectives. This information will help the program design its communication materials.
CDPHP collaborates with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, DHSS’s Division of Senior and Disability Services, the Commission on Aging, and other agencies across the state to plan and implement community outreach efforts. Some of these efforts include supporting evidence-based exercise groups and home safety plans. Other work is focused on clinical changes, such as increasing vision exams, medication reviews and the use of fall risk screenings.
Falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable. Fewer and less serious falls for older Alaskans would reduce medical costs and significantly improve the quality of life for our oldest citizens.
How To Get Involved with
Adult Fall Prevention
The Alaska Adult Fall Prevention website has resources and links for anyone interested in learning more about the program. There is also valuable information about Fall-risk Assessment for Medicare Beneficiaries.
Visit the Alaska Adult Fall Prevention website: