Hawai‘i fall prevention awareness campaign begins June 22, designed to reduce fall injuries among kūpuna
Every year in Hawai‘i an average of 144 seniors (ages 65 years and older) die, 2,184 are hospitalized, and 9,677 are treated in emergency departments because of unintentional falls.
Falls disproportionately affect older adults. In addition to the emotional and physical trauma of falling, falls create a significant financial toll on families and the health care system. Over $241 million in hospital and physician charges were incurred in 2022 for fall-related injuries in Hawai‘i.
What is most important to note is that falls are preventable.
Each year the State Department of Health and the Hawai’i Fall Prevention Consortium sponsor a Fall Prevention Campaign. This year’s campaign will start on June 22 in collaboration with the Tai Chi for Health Institute, Times and KTA pharmacies, City Mill, Project Dana, Catholic Charities, and Project Vision Hawai‘i.
The campaign will feature new public service announcements airing on five Hawai‘i TV stations, (KGMB, KHNL, KHON, KITV and KIKU), tai chi classes at all O‘ahu YMCAs (includes an instructor workshop) and community presentations focusing on preventing falls among older adults. Times and KTA Pharmacies will also host free medication reviews for kūpuna.
Hawai‘i’s fall prevention program was recognized as one of “the finest public awareness campaigns in the nation” at a past NCOA National Falls Prevention Resources Conference in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Hawai‘i Fall Prevention Consortium was founded in 2003 with support and leadership from the Injury Prevention and Control Program of the Hawai‘i State Department of Health. The consortium includes government agencies, professional associations, non-profit organizations, hospitals, care facilities and senior organizations.
“Almost every hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a senior is transported by ambulance to an emergency room in our state because of a fall injury. Yet many falls and fall-related injuries can be prevented with existing knowledge and technology,” said Dr. Alvin Bronstein, chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention Systems Branch. “The Department of Health is glad to be continuing this valuable program to help ensure the safety and well-being of Hawai‘i seniors, the fastest growing segment of our population.”
The Hawai‘i State Department of Health offers the following important advice to seniors, their family members, and caregivers to prevent falls and fall-related injuries that can limit mobility and independence:
- Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medications yearly;
- Get an annual eye exam;
- If you live alone, get a Personal Electronic Safety Device as they save lives every day;
- Make your home safer by removing fall hazards like electrical cords running across the floor or loose throw rugs, improving lighting; and
- Exercise regularly to increase balance and flexibility – Walking is always great, but be sure to incorporate activities that challenge your balance and keep your bones strong (strength or resistance training).