WHEREAS, approximately 17.l percent of North Carolinians are 65 years of age or older; it is estimated that a quarter of people ages 65 and older fall each year, and older adults who fall once are two to three times more likely to fall again; and

WHEREAS, according to estimates by the North Carolina Injury and Violence Prevention Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, unintentional falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among people in our state ages 65 and older, causing 1,551 deaths, 20,031 hospitalizations, and 109,263 emergency department visits in 2022; and

WHEREAS, unintentional falls can lead to depression, loss of mobility, and loss of functional independence and are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) among North Carolinians ages 65 and older, with falls accounting for 67.3 percent of fatal TBI among older adults in 2022; and

WHEREAS, the average hospitalization charge of an unintentional fall for a North Carolina resident ages 65 or older was $67,743.93 in 2022; and

WHEREAS, evidence-based programs reduce falls through cost-effective strategies such as exercise programs to improve balance and strength, medication management, vision improvement, reduction of home hazards, and fall prevention education; and

WHEREAS, the North Carolina Falls Prevention Coalition is working to increase awareness of this issue, promote multidisciplinary strategies to prevent falls, and encourage people to take steps to protect those who are at increased risk of falling;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ROY COOPER, Governor of the State of North Carolina, do hereby proclaim September 17 – 24, 2023, as “FALLS PREVENTION AWARENESS WEEK” in North Carolina, and commend its observance to all citizens.

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