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Falls are the leading cause of moderate and serious injuries for older adults in New Jersey.
In fact, every eight minutes, a person over the age of 60 is treated in an emergency room because of a fall.
More than $1 billion is spent annually in New Jersey’s emergency rooms to treat injuries resulting from seniors falling; fall-related inpatient stays average about $65,000.
But the real cost of these accidents can’t be measured in money. Falling and the fear of falling can lead to depression and hopelessness, loss of mobility, and loss of functional independence for seniors.
The causes of falls are varied. They can sometimes be attributed to a lack of strength in the lower extremities, the use of four or more medications, reduced vision, chronic health problems, and unsafe home conditions. But falls are not an inevitable consequence of aging, and injuries from falls are largely a preventable community health problem.
It’s important for seniors and their families to be aware of the risk factors and to take action to prevent them.
Fall prevention strategies include engaging in physical activity to improve balance and strength, medication management, regular health and vision checkups, and home safety assessments.
These core fundamentals have a positive impact on the quality of life for New Jersey seniors by helping them to remain healthy, active and independent.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of Aging Services has fostered partnerships across the aging and disabilities services network to offer fall prevention programs, including Project Healthy Bones and A Matter of Balance, throughout  New Jersey.
Sept. 17-24 is National Fall Prevention Week.
For more information on how to participate in programs that can help seniors prevent falls, call the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 1-877-222-3737 or go to
Kathleen Mason
Division of Aging Services
New Jersey Department of Human Services

Monday, September 17, 2012 12:00 am 
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