27 County Residents Die from Fall-related Accidents
From January through August 2019, 27 Weld County residents died from fall-related accidents. This accidental fall death rate is equal to those who died from accidental drug overdoses. The average age of the deceased is 79.3. Most falls occurred at home and when residents were walking without assistance. “In most cases, the fall itself was not immediately fatal,” said Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch, “Instead, there was a period of decline after the fall—usually measured in days.” The injuries were mostly hip fractures, though a few head injuries contributed to the total number of fall-related deaths, said Blesch.
“One fall-related death is too many. As our population continues to age, fall prevention and improvements to overall well-being of seniors is critical,” said Mark E. Wallace, MD MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department. “Our ongoing partnership with the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), the Coroner’s Office, and others, is key to working collectively together and ensuring health education initiatives reach our seniors.”
Whitney Janzen-Pankratz, for AAA, suggests the following:
• Talk openly with your healthcare provider about falls. Tell your provider immediately if you have fallen, worry about falling, or feel dizzy or unsteady while walking.
• Exercise to improve balance and strength. The AAA has classes in Tai Chi, walking and yoga.
• Have your eyes and feet checked yearly. Some seniors have vision issues such as cataracts or glaucoma that can contribute to falls.
• Make your home safer. Remove things you can trip over, like throw rugs or boxes.
• Attend the “Ready, Steady, Balance, Fall Prevention Awareness Week” events September 21-26, 2019. Events include tai chi, caregiver education, chair yoga, film screenings and more. Call (970) 400-6117 for more information.
To learn more about fall prevention, visit www.weldhealth.org and click on “Health Hot Topics.”