WHEREAS, Alaska seniors are the fastest growing age demographic, representing an estimated 19 percent of our state’s total population, live longer, and remain in better health than their predecessors; and
WHEREAS, enhanced health and improved medical treatments have translated into fewer deaths from acute causes overall; however, falls continue to be the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among Alaskans aged 65 and older, often causing serious injuries such as brain trauma, hip fracture, and even death; and
WHEREAS, it is estimated that more than one out of four older Alaskans fall each year, but less than half tell their care providers. Those that have fallen are at twice the risk of falling again; and
WHEREAS, falling, and the fear of falling, threaten a senior’s safety, well-being, and independence and may cause a person to reduce his or her everyday activities, thus becoming less active, losing strength, and consequently putting themselves at greater risk for falling. This cycle can lead to depression, loss of mobility, and loss of functional independence; and
WHEREAS, research has shown many factors that can contribute to falling such as lower body weakness, vitamin D deficiency, difficulties with walking and balance, use of medicines that affect equilibrium, problems with vision and hearing, foot pain and poor footwear, in addition to inadequate indoor lighting or home hazards that can cause tripping; and
WHEREAS, seniors can reduce their chances of falling by participating in evidence-based exercise programs to improve balance and strength, creating a healthy medication and nutrition routine with a health care professional, having regular eye and hearing exams, reducing the hazards in their homes, installing safety devices, and engaging in fall prevention education; and
WHEREAS, the Alaska Commission on Aging and many partners are working to increase awareness of this issue, promote multidisciplinary strategies to prevent falls, and encourage citizens to take steps to protect those who are at increased risk of falling.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim September 23, 2020 as:
Falls Prevention Awareness Day
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to practice fall prevention, promote awareness about the dangers of senior falls, and offer their support to seniors and others at risk to prevent falls and injury.