Fall-related injuries down among older Holmes adults

Fall-related injuries down among older Holmes adults

While taking a fall is always a risk, the numbers show Holmes County is seeing fewer fall-related accidents among senior citizens.


Emergency Department data shows a decrease in fall-related injuries among Holmes County adults age 65 or older in 2020 with 278 visits made to local hospitals in 2020 compared to 314 visits in 2019. This represents an 11% decrease.

The decrease in fall-related injuries resulted from a combination of factors. One is the significant number of older adults taking proactive steps to reduce their risk of falls. The most popular step has been taking Tai Chi, Matter of Balance and other evidence-based programs designed to improve balance and mobility.

Over 240 adults took in-person classes in 2019, and the Holmes County General Health District has continued programs on a virtual basis via Facebook Live since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 8,200 people viewed tai chi demonstrations on the health district’s Facebook page in 2020. Another factor in the decrease is the COVID-19 pandemic. The total number of visits to emergency departments decreased in March and April as restrictions were being put into place. The lowest number of fall-related visits were made during these months as well. One possible reason is older adults avoided going to emergency departments and used other sources of care for the evaluation and treatment of injuries.

Analysis of the data found key differences by season, sex, age and geography. The highest number of visits occurred in June through October while the lowest number of visits were in March and April.

Rates of fall-related injuries were slightly higher among females compared to males and increased with age. Approximately 1-in-10 adults age 85 or older experienced a fall-related injury in the last year.

Fall-related injuries occurred throughout the county. The highest rates occurred in the Berlin (44610), Walnut Creek (44687), Winesburg (44690) and Wilmot (44689) zip codes. The lowest rates occurred in the Nashville (44661) and Big Prairie (44611) zip codes.

The Standing Against Falls Coalition and the Holmes County Falls Prevention Program of the Holmes County General Health District have been working together to prevent falls and fall-related injuries since 2014. The coalition is a group of representatives from agencies based in Holmes County and concerned community members.

The coalition provides a variety of programs to educate the community, reducing risk for falling, providing home-safety assessments, and providing courses aimed to improve balance and mobility. The programs and services are offered at no cost to individuals and supported by a grant from the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

If you or someone you know would like more information about the SAF Coalition of the Holmes County Falls Prevention Program, 85 N. Grant St., Millersburg, call Kerry McQueen at 330-674-5035 ext. 251 or visit www.holmeshealth.org.

This article was written by Matt Falb, contracted epidemiologist for the HCGHD and Standing Against Falls Coalition member.

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