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Minnesota fall facts

Falls remain the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury for older Americans. Falls threaten seniors' safety and independence and have enormous economic and personal costs.

• Minnesota's fatal fall rate is one of the highest in the nation and has continued to climb from 10.4 per 100,000 to 12.1 per 100,000 population in 2010. Most of these fatalities were among older adults.

• Unintentional injury is the fourth leading cause of death for all Minnesotans. Falls account for almost 31 percent of these unintentional injury deaths. In 2007, Minnesota's fatal fall rate exceeded the rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents.

• Costs for non-fatal falls among adults 65 and older in Minnesota were more than $182 million in 2005.

• Minnesota's population is aging. During the past 10 years, Minnesota's 65 and older population increased by 14.9 percent to 683,121 in 2010.

• Between 2010 and 2035, the number of Minnesotans older than 65 will double, rising from 677,000 to 1.4 million (a 107 percent increase).

• As Minnesota's population ages, the impact and cost of fall-related deaths and injuries will increase significantly.

Falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Through evidence-based programs, lifestyle adjustments and community partnerships, we can reduce the number of falls. A Matter of Balance is an evidence-based program that is prevalent throughout Minnesota. Ask for a program near you.

Minnesota is one of 47 states to declare a statewide Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall, September 22, 2013. This year's theme, Preventing Falls-One Step at a Time, seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.

Here are some of our long-term goals:

• Encourage older adults to adopt health behaviors, becoming more physically active, have their medications reviewed, and make appropriate safety modifications to their homes.

• Encourage health care providers to assess all older adults for fall risk factors.

• Educate and train caregivers and family members in ways to reduce falls.

• Increase the availability of evidence-based falls prevention programs such as A Matter of Balance and physical activity programs in community-based organizations.

• Improve mechanisms for health care providers to refer older adults to community-based falls prevention and physical activity programs.

• Empower everyone to promote falls prevention strategies in their communities.

For more information, contact me at (320) 762-3047 or visit