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West Side Senior News & Notes

6/5/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Medication safety, awareness key to avoiding preventable falls

COLUMBUS — STEADY U Ohio, the statewide falls prevention initiative, and Ohio’s Best Rx program, which provides prescription drug savings for more than 1.6 million Ohioans, have partnered to stress the role that proper prescription medication management can play in keeping older Ohioans safe.

According to Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) officials, by adopting and maintaining healthy habits, including an open dialogue with their doctors and pharmacist, senior citizens can avoid many risk factors that can lead to a fall and injury.

“It is not an exaggeration to call falls among older Ohioans an epidemic. While residents age 65 and older make up 13.7 percent of our population, they account for more than 80 percent of fatal falls,” said Bonnie Burman, director of the ODA, which leads the STEADY U Ohio initiative. “The good news is that falls are not a normal part of aging — most falls can be prevented with minor changes to home, health and habits, including increased awareness of the ways that the medicines we take, and how we take them, may increase our risk.”

According to ODA officials, an older Ohioan is injured in a fall every 5 minutes on average, resulting in two hospitalizations each hour, an emergency department visit every 7.5 minutes and three deaths each day. Some prescription medications can increase the risk of falling because they may cause dizziness, drowsiness, numbness or may have other side effects that affect balance and perception.

“As a STEADY U Ohio partner, Ohio’s Best Rx encourages our Golden Buckeyes and Ohioans of all ages to speak with their doctors and pharmacists to see whether the medicines they take can increase the risk of falling,” said Barry Katz, a pharmacist and president of Envision Pharmaceutical Services, which operates the Ohio’s Best Rx program.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, body changes as we age can affect the way medicines are absorbed and used. These changes include slower digestion, increased body weight, slower circulation and decreased liver and kidney function. These changes increase the risk of drug side effects and interactions for older adults, said ODA officials.

Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov and follow SteadyUOhio on Facebook and Twitter for falls prevention tips and resources.


ODA accepting nominations for Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) is accepting nominations for outstanding individuals to be inducted into the 2014 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

“So many of our older Ohioans — our Golden Buckeyes — are defined not by their age, but by the good work they have done and continue to do,” said Bonnie Burman, director of the ODA. “The Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame honors the vital roles our elders play in their communities, across the state and nationwide, while it promotes the benefits of active, productive and purposeful living at all points in our lives.”

Individuals and organizations interested in nominating a neighbor, colleague, family member or friend may visit www.aging.ohio.gov/news/halloffame/ for more information, to submit a nomination or download the nomination form. Nominations are accepted year-round.

According to ODA officials, nominees for the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame must be age 60 or older and be native-born Ohioans or residents of the state for at least 10 years. Posthumous nominations will be accepted. The nominee (or a representative of the nominee if he or she is unable) must consent to the nomination. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

According to ODA officials, nominees will be evaluated on the impact of their current contributions, or a continuation of contributions begun before age 60, in areas of endeavor including, but not limited to: arts/literature, business/technology, education, health/fitness, community activism and science/medicine. All eligible nominees will be evaluated by a selection committee using a formal rating system, according to ODA officials.

The induction is held each May, and those selected will join more than 350 older Ohioans inducted into the hall since its inception in 1978, according to ODA officials.

To learn more and view past inductees, visit www.aging.ohio.gov/news/halloffame/.


Kathleen Collins contributed to these reports.

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