Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

September 21, 2015
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

By understanding how to prevent falls you can reduce your risk of falling

NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert are committed to raising awareness about fall prevention for older adults in our community. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among people over the age of 65 and are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. An injury from a fall can change your life in an instant. There are many reasons why people fall; the good news is that most falls can be prevented.

"I proclaim the week of September 23 - 29 as Fall Prevention Awareness Week to bring attention to this largely preventable community health problem, and to highlight the importance of fall prevention strategies, which have a positive impact on the quality of life for Rockland County seniors by helping them to remain healthy, active and independent," said County Executive Day.

If you have fallen or feel you are at risk for falling, take the Rockland County Department of Health's free fall-prevention class, A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls. You will learn strategies to prevent a fall and get group support. Graduates report that they have developed more confidence, learned exercises to increase strength and balance, learned to set realistic goals to increase activity and to make changes to reduce the risks of falls at home. Classes meet two hours a week for eight weeks. Six of the sessions include 30 minutes devoted to mild to moderate exercises, which are specifically designed to increase your balance, strength and flexibility.

Reserve a spot in one of the following Matter of Balance classes by calling 845-364-2501:

  • Fridays, September 25 to November 13, from 10 am to 12 pm, in Pearl River
  • Mondays, September 28 to November 23, from 10 am to 12 pm, in Pomona
  • Tuesdays, September 29 to November 17, from 11 am to 1 pm, in Nyack

Follow these simple tips to help prevent a fall:

  • Get up from a chair slowly; before moving forward, take a second to balance yourself, and count to ten before you take a step.
  • Sit down to put your pants on.
  • Wear sturdy, well-fitting shoes with low heels and non-slip soles.
  • See an eye specialist once a year. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
  • Review your medications annually with your doctor. Some medications have side effects that can cause dizziness.
  • Increase physical activity - regular exercise increases balance and strength.
  • Remove tripping hazards like throw rugs and clutter in walkways.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Have grab bars installed next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
  • Have handrails on both sides of stairways and improve lighting in the entire home.
  • Ask for help if you need to reach items on high shelves or use a reacher (a device to help you), rather than stand on unsteady chairs or ladders. Keep items you use the most within reach.

"Ask your health care provider to do a fall risk assessment at your annual check-up. Medicare covers fall risk assessments and referrals (called STEADI – Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) as part of your annual check-up," said Dr. Ruppert.

For more information visit or call (845) 364-3839.