Falls are the leading cause of death from injury in older adults, and most falls occur in the senior’s home. But falling is not inevitable. Fall prevention programs that include balance training, physical activity, medication management and home modifications do make a difference. LIFE ElderCare’s Fall Prevention Coordinator, Maureen Parent, talked about our holistic approach to integrating all of these these elements, along with the importance of community partnerships, at the recent California Wellness Foundation Conference on Healthy Aging on April 18, 2012 in Glendale, CA. The session, “Promising and Proven Solutions for Promoting Healthy Aging,” introduced the audience to several innovative programs to empower older adults to take responsibility for their health and promote healthy aging.
LIFE ElderCare’s Fall Prevention program is unique in that it addresses all dimensions of a senior’s well-being – physical, mental and social – by pairing seniors with trained nursing students for weekly one-on-one coaching, education and support. The successful implementation of this program over the past seven years is a testament to the power of partnerships. By utilizing nursing students from Unitek College and student pharmacists at Touro University, frail, older seniors get a customized, supervised exercise program, a medication review and minor home health modifications, at no charge.
During the past year 367 seniors were enrolled in the program and 318 student nurses received hands-on training in geriatric home care. In addition, the success of the program has encouraged Contra Costa County and other communities to start their own Fall Prevention programs.