The 9th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD) will be observed on September 22, 2016—the first day of fall. The day of recognition was started and sponsored by the National Council on Aging and raises awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. The theme of this year’s event is Ready, Steady, Balance: Prevent Falls in 2016.
Since Falls Prevention Awareness Day was first observed in 2008 it has grown in participation from events in 11 states to last year having 48 states and the District of Columbia taking part, including Iowa.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, unintentional falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths for Iowans aged 65 or older. Iowans over age 85 experiencing a fall are seven times more likely than those ages 65-84 to die from a fall. With Iowa’s aging population, the number of unintentional falls continues to increase each year, resulting in more than 430 reported fall-related deaths in 2012.
Elderbridge Agency on Aging has trained instructors for two fall preventions programs, “Stepping On” and “A Matter of Balance”.
A “Stepping On” workshop presented by Elderbridge is currently taking place in Manning at the Senior Center. Classes there started on August 24th. The “Stepping On” fall prevention program covers a wide range of topics, including vision, home hazards, medicines and practical exercises to improve strength and balance. “Stepping On” is designed for people 65 and older who are living at home and who have experienced falls in the past or are fearful of falling in the future. Participants must be able to walk by themselves or with a walking stick.
“Stepping On” is a community-based workshop offered once a week for seven weeks using adult education principles that build older adults' confidence in their ability to reduce falls. In a small group setting, older adults learn specific knowledge and skills to prevent falls. Mutual support and success build participant’s confidence in their ability to manage their own health behaviors to reduce their risk of falls and remain independent. Expert presenters such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Vision Experts are also used as instructors to enhance the “Stepping On” workshops.
“A Matter of Balance”
"A Matter of Balance" is a fall/injury prevention program that targets older adults who have sustained falls in the past, have limited physical activities due to concerns about falling, and are interested in learning more about flexibility, strength and balance, and how to prevent falls. "A Matter of Balance" emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels.
"A Matter of Balance" includes eight two-hour sessions for a small group led by a trained facilitator. This nationally recognized program was developed at the Roybal Center at Boston University. During the class, participants learn to: view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risk at home and exercise to increase strength and balance.
If you are interested in learning more about fall prevention workshops at Elderbridge, please contact our Healthy Aging Program Coordinator at 1-800-243-0678, Extension 7030.