The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging Michigan residents to take measures to prevent falls.Today is Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and every day especially during the coming cold-weather months.

Senior Citizen couple
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“Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury for older adults in the state, but by taking a few simple measures, they are preventable,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “That is why taking time today to learn about how to protect ourselves, our friends and our family members from falls is critically important.”

Fall-related deaths are on the rise in Michigan and are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and injury-related hospitalizations for the senior population. Falls resulted in 836 deaths for people aged 65 and older in Michigan, and 14,233 people of this same age group were hospitalized from fall-related injuries, according to 2013 data. Falls among older adults cost the U.S. health care system upwards of $30 billion dollars, annually.

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls. Experts recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components; consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically; getting eyes and hearing checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

MDHHS reminds residents that contrary to common belief, falls are not an inevitable part of growing older. There are steps you can take to prevent falls; it is extremely important to educate older Michiganders and their families about simple steps to stay safe as they age.

Senior centers across the United States have programs like Matter of Balance and Tai Chi which help older adults gain strength, improve balance, and increase confidence. Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) will have information on these programs in your community. Visit to find your local AAA.

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