Hosted by the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) and the Knoxville-Knox County Senior Safety Task Force, the fifth-annual senior falls prevention seminar, “Prevent Falls, One Step at a Time,” takes place Friday, Sept 20, from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the John T. O’Connor Senior Center, 611 Winona Street. The seminar is free and open to the public, but registration is required by calling (865) 541-4500 before Sept. 13.
The seminar is designed for seniors and their families as well as health care professionals. Session topics include nutrition and muscle loss, medication and falls, and preventing falls in the home. Continuing education units (CEUs) for nurses and LPNs are available. The seminar includes an exercise break, and lunch is provided. Vendors will offer a variety of information and health screenings. Sponsors include the Knox County Health Department, Covenant Senior Health, Walgreens, United Healthcare, AARP, The Courtyards Senior Living, Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service, Blue Care Tennessee, Home Helpers, UT Medical Center Brain and Spine Institute, and East TN Personal Care Service. KCHD convened the Senior Safety Task Force in 2008 to address concerns about falls in the older population. More information is available by calling Rachel Frazier at KCHD at (865) 215-5175.
According to the most recent statistics from the CDC, falls are the third leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States with 83 percent of these occurring among adults 65 and older. One in 10 adults in this age group will suffer a serious injury from falling, such as a broken hip. In addition, more than 40 percent of those hospitalized due to a hip fracture cannot live independently and will never return home.
According to mortality statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health, approximately 20 Knox County seniors die each year from injuries received during a fall. From 2006 to 2009, 7,025 Knox County adults 65 years or older sought hospital care due to falls (Knox County Hospital Discharge records).