Events at OU Health Highlight National Falls Prevention Week

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Events at OU Health Highlight National Falls Prevention Week

The Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative (OHAI), part of the Reynolds Section of Geriatrics, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, will present a series of free virtual and in-person events Sept. 20 – 24, observed as National Falls Prevention Week. The event is offered in collaboration with the National Council on Aging to raise greater awareness and to emphasize practical measures that can reduce the likelihood of falls.

OHAI invites those interested to register for these events during Falls Prevention Week:

Sept. 20 Introduction, tips and tools, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., www.facebookcom/OKHealthyAging

Sept. 21 Bring a Friend to Class. Schedule at

Sept. 22 Falls Prevention, presented by Eugene Steinberg, M.D., geriatric medicine specialist, www.facebookcom/OKHealthyAging

Sept. 23 Tai Chi and SAIL (Senior Adult Independent Living) demonstration, sessions at 9 a.m. and

1 p.m., www.facebookcom/OKHealthyAging

Sept. 24 Tai Chi-a-Thon, 9 a.m. to Noon. Register at Walk-in registrations accepted the day of the event. This event will be held in person at different venues across the state, as well as virtually via Zoom. The Zoom link will be provided the night before the event to registered participants. Locations below:

  • Durant– First Presbyterian Church 501 N. 15th Avenue, (580) 745 9477
  • Enid – First Presbyterian Church, 502 W. Maine Street, (580) 297-5137
  • Oklahoma City – Embassy Suites Downtown – Medical Center, 741 N. Phillips, (405) 271-2290
  • Tulsa – Schusterman Center, Founders Hall Learning Center, 4502 E 41st Street, (918) 779-7367

Falls are a national public health concern. Contrary to popular belief, falls are not a normal part of aging and most falls are preventable. Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in falls. In medical costs alone, the financial toll for falls was more than $50 billion in 2015. As the population ages, that figure is expected to more than double by 2030. Among older adults, falls represent a substantially increased risk for broken bones and head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, which often result in death. In addition, the complications that follow recovery may undermine quality of life through the remaining life span.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in four people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctors. People who have fallen once double their risk of subsequent falls. Death rates associated with falls increased 30% in the United States between 2007 and 2016.

Falls prevention strategies include practical, often simply achieved, changes or modifications that are proven to reduce risk. The more risk factors present in lifestyle and/or environment, the greater the chances of a fall. These risks include:

  • Lower body weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Gait and balance difficulties
  • Medications and over-the-counter medicines that affect balance
  • Vision problems
  • Foot pain
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • Home hazards
    • Broken or uneven walkways, indoor and outdoor
    • Clutter that may be bumped into or tripped over
    • Throw rugs easily tripped over
    • Poor lighting