|May 2, 2012 - In the next 17 seconds, an older adult will be treated in a hospital emergency department for injuries related to a fall.
In the next 30 minutes, an older adult will die from injuries sustained in a fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury
among adults aged 65 years and older in the United States, and can result in severe injuries such as hip fractures and
head traumas. In Knox County, more than 1,800 people aged 65 and older sought hospital care for falls in 2009 (the
most current data), and approximately 19 people aged 65 or older die each year from their injuries. That's why Knox
County Health Department (KCHD) and the Knoxville-Knox County Senior Safety Task Force will be hosting the
community-wide Senior Falls Prevention seminar on Tuesday, May 22, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at John T.
O'Connor Senior Center, 611 Winona Street in Knoxville. The theme is "Your Roadmap to Preventing Falls." The
seminar is free and open to the public, but participants must register to reserve their spot by calling 541-4500 by
Tuesday, May 15. Health Care professionals also are welcome and continuing education credits are available.
"Knox County's seniors are one of our greatest resources," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "Keeping them
healthy, active citizens benefits all of us. I appreciate the Senior Safety Task Force's efforts in helping them maintain
their independence and a good quality-of-life."
"This seminar is specifically designed to give seniors and their families important tools and resources for doing
personal risk assessment and developing a fall prevention plan," said Stan Boling, Covenant Senior Health vice
president and task force member. "There also will be workshops and continuing education credits for health care
professionals interested in learning the latest information on minimizing the dangers of falls in the senior population."
Breakout sessions for community members will include causes and treatment for dizziness, and Dr. John Dougherty,
neurologist, will discuss an Alzheimer's self-test. The day includes light breakfast and lunch with entertainment by the
O'Connor Singing Seniors, an exercise break and door prizes. More than 25 vendors from the Senior Safety Task
Force and other senior organizations will offer a variety of information and health screenings. Sponsors are Knox
County Health Department, United Healthcare Community Plan and Covenant Senior Health.
For the second year, a professional track with continuing education units (CEUs) for nurses and LPNs will be offered.
The presenters will include Ryan Gabel, a physical therapist with Gentiva Health, and Dr. John Duncan, Knox County
Health Department pharmacist. Health care professionals must call 541-4500 by May 15 to reserve a space.
More than one of every three adults aged 65 and older falls each year, accounting for 13,000 fatalities and 1.8 million
hospital visits annually. In 2003, the total direct cost for falls for this group is more than $27.3 billion annually. By 2020,
it is expected to reach $43.8 billion.
Knox County Health Department convened the Senior Safety Task Force in March 2008 to address concerns about
falls in the older population. The group meets monthly and has hosted a fall prevention seminar every year since its
inception. The task force includes many community partners and has representatives from non-profit organizations,
social service agencies, local government, hospitals, home health and other advocates for seniors.