BROOKINGS — Between 2007 and 2016, South Dakota was ranked fifth in the nation for death from falls among adults ages 65 and older. Beyond the risk of death, a fall can have a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities.

According to the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations, hospital discharge data from 2014-2018 shows the rate of hospitalizations due to falls in individuals age 65 and older is 1,628.8 per 100,000. In 2015, the estimated medical cost of falls across the nation was $95,000 per minute.

Organizations across the state recognize the detrimental impact of falls and are taking steps to reduce the risk of a fall among the people they serve. A group of individuals representing Meals on Wheels Western S.D., South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations, Faulkton Area Medical Center, Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, Long Term Services and Support, Reinecke Chiropractic, Health Connect of South Dakota, Inc., Sanford Health USD Medical Center, Winner Regional Health, Good Samaritan Society and many more are working together to develop a statewide fall prevention coalition.

This group seeks to increase the identification of individuals at risk of a fall and is working to develop a referral structure to connect those individuals with services and resources that may be available. In addition, the group hopes to identify gaps in services and resources to ensure all South Dakotans have access to the support needed to reduce fall risk for themselves or their loved ones.

For more information, contact Leacey E. Brown, SDSU Extension gerontology field specialist, at leacey.brown@sdstate.edu or 605.394.1722.

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