Editor’s note: This story is part of a Total Health series the Observer-Reporter is producing in conjunction with Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging.

Falls are the No. 1 cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths among older adults.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fall injuries are treated in an emergency department every 13 seconds and claim a life every 20 minutes. Even those who have never fallen often fear it. That fear becomes more common as people age, often causing them to avoid activities they might otherwise enjoy.

Hip fractures are one of the most serious types of fall injury and loss of independence among older adults. Fractures to the pelvis, spine, arm, hand or ankle are also common.

If you or an older person you know has fallen, you are not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. But falls don’t just happen and people don’t fall just because they get older. Often, more than one underlying cause or risk factor increases a person’s chances of falling, such as a physical condition, a medical problem, medication or something in the home or environment.

If you are 60 years of age or older, you can learn how to help prevent falls by signing up for a Healthy Steps for Older Adults falls prevention workshops, offered by Southwestern PA Area Agency on Aging Health & Wellness program.

For more information about the Healthy Steps for Older Adults program, contact Patti at 724-228-7080 or toll free at 1-888-300-2704, ext. 4430.

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