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The Ohio Department of Aging will hold its fifth annual “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” campaign on Sept. 23, National Falls Prevention Awareness Day.

The agency is seeking individuals, groups, and organizations to host community walking groups and events on that day and throughout September to raise awareness of older adult falls and the things older Ohioans can do to prevent them.

“‘10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls’ has made a real difference in helping more people understand the impact falls can have on older Ohioans,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the department of aging, in a news release. “In the first year, our partners hosted 57 events involving 4,434 participants and contributing 13 million steps. In 2018, that had grown to 106 events with 16,099 participants and 97.8 million steps. We thank our faithful partners and are eager to form new partnerships that will help us once again exceed our goal.”

While those age 65 and older comprise 17% of Ohio’s population, they account for more than 87% of fatal falls, according to the department of aging. Moreover, falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths among older Ohioans. Falls and the fear of falling can also contribute to depression, hopelessness and isolation.

However, falls are not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented, according to the department of aging. Increased physical activity, like walking several times a week, is one strategy to lower the risk.

Potential partners include businesses, senior centers, churches, schools, nonprofit agencies, nursing homes, families and groups of friends. Walks can be held on city sidewalks, in business parking lots, indoor or outdoor walking tracks, malls and elsewhere.

The department of aging publishes a list of partners and events on its website throughout August and September.

To learn more, register your group or event and see opportunities to participate, visit aging.ohio.gov/steadyu/10MillionSteps.