You may be surprised to learn that, among Ohioans 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injuries that lead to emergency room visits, hospital stays and deaths. That age group accounts for more than 83 percent of fatal falls, which causes great strain and tragedy for those individuals and their families.
One simple misstep or trip that can lead to a fall can also lead to many complications in the weeks and months following. I recently saw an article that indicated that, even if a person who falls does not suffer serious injury, a fall can damage a person’s self-confidence.
The risk becomes even greater in the months ahead, during a time when there is less daylight, colder temperatures, and ice on steps and sidewalks. Therefore, I believe this is an appropriate time to speak up about these risks and inform the public about the resources that are out there to help. I’ve enjoyed meeting and talking with seniors around the 91st House District and I just wanted to share a little about what these folks can do to prevent falls and what resources are available to them.
Like everything else, we cannot eliminate every risk we face in life. But there are steps that senior citizens and their families can take to keep our loved ones safe. A couple years ago, Governor Kasich introduced the STEADY U Ohio initiative, a public awareness campaign and free resource that people can use to learn more about preventing falls and their subsequent injuries.
The website, www.steadyu.ohio.gov, has valuable information ranging from advice for senior citizens to avoid falls, to things that businesses and families in our community can do to keep the people who depend on them safe. It also includes fall-related statistics, as well as other information that shows how most falls can be prevented.
With the many important issues we address every day, preventing falls may at first seem like it should be very low on the list. But, as statistics and history show us, this is a significant concern that can lead to very serious consequences. I am happy that there are now public resources available to families, who want to do everything they can to keep their loved ones safe.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.