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27 Weld residents die from fall-related accidents

Posted on 09/03/2019
Closeup of man with hands on walkerWeld County, CO – From January through August 2019, 27 Weld County residents died from fall related accidents. This accidental fall death rate is almost equal to those who died from accidental drug overdoses. The average age of the deceased is 79.3, with males and females equally impacted. Most of the falls occurred at home and when residents were walking without assistance. “In most cases, the fall itself was not immediately fatal,” said Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch, “Instead, there was a period of decline after the fall—usually measured in days.” The injuries were mostly hip fractures, though a few head injuries contributed to the total number of fall-related deaths, Blesch said. The Coroner’s Office reports about 45 to 65 deaths occur each year due to accidental falls.

“One fall related death is too many. As our population continues to age, fall prevention and improvements to overall well-being of seniors is critical,” said Mark E. Wallace, MD MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department. “Our ongoing partnership with the Area Agency on Aging, the Coroner’s Office, and others, is key to working collectively together and ensuring health education initiatives reach our seniors.”

Whitney Janzen-Pankratz, Wellness Program Coordinator for the Weld County Area Agency on Aging (AAA), has tips for fall prevention and overall health improvement:

• Talk openly with your healthcare provider about falls. Tell your provider immediately if you have fallen, worry about falling, or feel dizzy or unsteady while walking. Some medicines can make you feel sleepy or dizzy, which can contribute to falls.
• Exercise to improve balance and strength. The AAA has classes in tai chi, walking, and yoga.
• Have your eyes and feet checked yearly. Some seniors have vision issues such as cataracts or glaucoma that can contribute to falls.
• Make your home safer. Remove things you can trip over, like throw rugs, or boxes. Have grab bars installed in the bathroom by the toilet and tub.
• Attend the “Ready, Steady, Balance: Fall Prevention Awareness Week” events from September 21-26, 2019. Events include tai chi, caregiver education, chair yoga, film screenings, and more. For more information, call (970) 400-6117.