In recognition of National Fall Prevention Awareness Day on Wednesday, Sept. 23, the YMCA of the Capital Area is asking older adults, caregivers, family members and health care professionals in Baton Rouge to raise awareness to prevent falls among older adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult in the U.S. is treated in the ER for a fall-related injury every 14 seconds and dies from a fall-related injury every 29 minutes, a news release said. Additionally, falls are a major public health concern accounting for $34 billion in direct medical costs in 2013 alone.

“Older adults are valuable members of our families and communities, and falling and fear of falling may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility, diminished quality of life and actually increases their risk of falling,” said Kristen Hogan, marketing director for YMCA of the Capital Area.

The YMCA works to help older adults feel strong, steady and safe by reducing fall risk through programs like water exercise classes, active older adults and healthy aging series. A fall risk assessment is available online at ymca.net/healthy-living.

The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls:

Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.

Get annual eye check-ups and update your eyeglasses.

Make your home safer by removing clutter and tripping hazards, putting railings on all stairs, adding grab bars in the bathroom and having good lighting, especially on stairs.