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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

DPH Media Contact:
Tim Turane
Email: DPHMedia@Delaware.gov

Date: September 14, 2022


DOVER, DE (Sept. 14, 2022) - Falls can result in broken bones, head injuries, and temporary or permanent disabilities, and the Delaware Coalition for Injury Prevention's Falls Prevention Team says it takes community effort to prevent them. The Injury Prevention Coalition operates under the Division of Public Health's (DPH) Office of Emergency Medical Services section.

In recognition of the importance of fall prevention, Governor John Carney and Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long proclaimed September 18-24, 2022, as Falls Prevention Awareness Week in keeping with the nationally recognized week.

"We need to look out for all Delawareans, especially our most vulnerable neighbors," said Governor Carney. "When everyone focuses on how they can prevent falls, we create safer communities."

"Preventing falls is important not only to keep individuals of all ages safe, but also to reduce the strain on the emergency services and health care system," said Steve Blessing, Chief of DPH's Office of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness. "Falls create a ripple effect in the person's life, the life of their families who may need to arrange for a higher level of care for them, and the EMS and medical system as a whole."

On Sept. 20, the Falls Prevention Team and the Modern Maturity Center (MMC) will show the movie "Denying Gravity." The movie highlights in a relatable, good-humored approach the positive effects of fall prevention activities for seniors. A small health fair with information on preventing falls precedes the movie. The event is free and open to the public. It runs from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the MMC, located at 1121 Forrest Avenue in Dover, Delaware. Registration is not required. Should movie-goers choose to stay for lunch in the Longwood Dining Room, the cost is $6.00 for ages 60 and older and $9.00 for ages up to 59. Visit www.modern-maturity.org/ for more information.

Falls occur among persons of all ages, though in the United States young children and seniors are most at risk for suffering fall-related traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries lead to major life changes for the individual and their families. In the U.S., falls are the leading cause of trauma-related hospitalizations among adults aged 65 and older, with one in four in that age group falling every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the Delaware Trauma Registry, 3,229 individuals were injured from falls and seen at a Delaware trauma center in 2021. Of that total, 1,833 were over the age of 64 and survived the fall while 38 people in that age group died.

"Head injury and hip fractures are unfortunately common among seniors who fall, and that impacts their mobility long-term," said Lt. Governor Hall-Long who is also a Registered Nurse. "It is so important for them to improve their balance and strengthen leg muscles, which can weaken from inactivity."

The Falls Prevention Team asks communities, businesses, schools, organizations, and households to follow this safety advice to prevent falls:

To improve coordination and balance, older Delawareans can enroll in A Matter of Balance© classes that are held in communities throughout the state. For a schedule of A Matter of Balance© classes, call Volunteer Delaware 50+ at 302-515-3020.

ChristianaCare offers BingoCize, an evidence-based fall prevention program integrating Bingo and exercise, as well as the ThinkFirst to Prevent Falls© program, which can be done either virtually or in person. The ThinkFirst program addresses home modifications, medications, balance, healthy eating, and other strategies to prevent falls. To schedule these programs and obtain more information, send an email to injuryprevention@christianacare.org.

To learn more about falls and falls prevention, refer to the CDC's Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) program at https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/index.html and the National Council on Aging at https://www.ncoa.org/. For falls data, visit the Delaware Trauma System Registry webpage at https://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/ems/trauma.html.

Proclamation in Observance of Falls Prevention Awareness Week

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.