"Stepping On" Fall Prevention Program
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. The monetary impact of those falls adds up to more than $135 million each year in hospital costs.
“Stepping On” was created in Australia at the University of Sydney and was brought to the U.S. and Americanized by a University of Wisconsin geriatric physician and falls expert. It is supported by the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging.
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.