Washington, DC - Top health and safety organizations, including The National Council on the Aging, the Home Safety Council and the National Safety Council praised Senators Michael Enzi and Barbara Mikulski today for their introduction of legislation in the Senate that takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the serious public heath issue of fall-related injuries and deaths among older adults. The bill, titled "Keeping Seniors Safe from Falls Act of 2005" will focus on preventing the 10,020 senior deaths and 1.6 million senior emergency room visits that occur each year.
“Senators Enzi and Mikulski have shown a true commitment to America's seniors with the introduction of this bill,” said James Firman, President and CEO of the National Council on the Aging. “Their leadership is a critical part of our effort to raise the issue of falls at the national level and really create change.”
More than one-third of adults 65 years and older fall each year and among those who fall, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that reduce mobility and independence, and increase the risk of premature death. Falls are the leading cause of death among seniors, accounting for 64,000 traumatic brain injuries each year. The total cost of all senior fall injuries was recently calculated at over $27 billion.
"Reducing falls among older adults is a complex public health issue that requires the active support of our public policy leaders," said HSC Chief Operating Officer Patricia H. Adkins. “We fully support Senators Enzi and Mikulski's efforts to implement a national, coordinated approach to reducing fatal falls among older adults.”
The Home Safety Council, the National Council on the Aging and NSC are members of the Falls Free Coalition, a group of more than 55 organizations launched earlier this year to advance the 36 strategies proposed in a new initiative entitled Falls Free: Promoting a National Falls Prevention Action Plan. One of the most important strategies proposed in the action plan was to advocate for a public policy approach to preventing falls.
“We are especially pleased to see that many of the recommendations from the national action plan have been incorporated into this important legislation,” said NSC President and CEO Alan McMillan. "Finding ways to prevent and reduce fall-related injury and death is of paramount importance for seniors and we look forward to working with Senators Enzi and Mikulski to get this bill enacted into law."
The bill will focus on collecting data that identifies specific risks and the most effective methods to prevent falls. The legislation also authorizes federal funding to be used for grants, contracts or cooperative agreements with organizations to design and implement fall prevention programs at the local, state and national levels and to evaluate the effectiveness of such initiatives.
Founded in 1950, The National Council on the Aging is a national network of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the health and independence of older persons; increasing their continuing contributions to communities, society and future generations; and building caring communities. Its 3,800 members include senior centers, adult day service centers, area agencies on aging, faith congregations, senior housing facilities, employment services, and other consumer organizations. NCOA also includes a voluntary network of more than 14,000 leaders from academia, business and labor who support our mission and work. To learn more about the National Council on Aging, visit www.ncoa.org.
The Home Safety Council is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to preventing home-related injuries that result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits each year. Through national programs, partnerships and the support of volunteers, HSC educates people of all ages to keep them safer in and around their homes. The Home Safety Council is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in Washington, DC. To learn more, visit the Home Safety Council at www.homesafetycouncil.org.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.