The news release came out two days before the official start of Autumn. At first glance, it appeared as if the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) was warning people about the Autumn season and the diseases that might come with it.

Then I looked a little closer and saw an additional "S." The headline changed from "Fall Prevention" to "FallS Prevention." The coincidence that Montana DPHHS announced Falls Prevention Awareness Week the same week as the beginning of the Fall season was a clever way of grabbing the attention of those of us who quickly scan through the internet.

Falls Prevention Program Manager Melissa Dale probably really enjoys Montana's awesome Autumn. what she doesn't like are the preventable accidents where many people age 65 and older fall down. In this week's news release, she said that almost 2,000 Montanans were hospitalized by unintentional falls in 2020. That resulted in hip fractures, broken bones and head injuries - all very costly.

She said, "The reality is that a majority of falls are preventable by making practical lifestyle changes. Knowing your risk factors of falling and how to make adjustments to reduce the risks can be the difference of living independently or sustaining a serious injury."

She provided some tips for older folks: Keep your home safe, have a regular exercise plan, talk to your family, review your medication with your doctor and have your vision and hearing checked annually. And, you can take an online risk assessment - Falls Free Check-Up.

I've also heard from others that climbing up on ladders gets more and more dangerous as you age. There also are classes throughout Montana about preventing accidental falling. Find out more by calling 1-844-684-5848. Then, go out and enjoy the fall colors. Just step carefully!

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