In Wyoming, falls and fall-related injuries are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related hospitalizations and the third leading cause of unintentional deaths.
Falls are not a normal part of aging. Falls are preventable. According to the National Council on Aging, every fourteen seconds an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury, and one in three older adults fall each year. The number of falls in a community may be reduced through practical life-style adjustments, evidence-based prevention programs, and community partnerships.
The following strategies reduce the chances of falling.
- Begin or maintain exercise programs focused on improving balance and coordination. (Always consult your medical provider before beginning or modifying an exercise program.)
- Consult your Pharmacist or Medical Provider and have all your medications reviewed to identify possible adverse interactions.
- Have your vision and hearing checked annually.
- Double check your home to identify trip hazards like low hanging lights and rugs; identify areas where grab bars and/or railings need to be installed.
Current Community Programs
Tai Chi for Arthritis
Tai Chi for Arthritis for falls prevention is an evidence-based community program developed to reduce the risks of falling among older adults. Studies have shown that older adults 65+ who regularly participate in a Tai Chi falls prevention class can reduce their risk of falling by as much as 55% when compared to the control group.
How does Tai Chi work? It emphasizes shifting your weight, improving your posture, and ensuring that one foot remains in firm contact with the ground at all times as you walk and stand. Many people who participate in a Tai Chi program over multiple weeks report increased balance, improved leg strength, flexibility, and a higher level of overall confidence.
A Matter of Balance
A Matter of Balance is an evidence-based community program designed to reduce the fear of falling and improve activity levels among older adults. The program includes eight classes each lasting two hours, presented over a four week period twice per week or over an eight week period once per week by two trained facilitators using a training manual and two instructional videos.
The program focuses on practical coping strategies to reduce fear of falling and to diminish the risk of falling. The curriculum includes lectures, group discussions, mutual problem-solving, role-playing activities, exercise training, assertiveness training and home assignments. Participants learn about the importance of exercise in preventing falls, practice exercises to improve strength, coordination and balance, identify how to conduct a home safety evaluations and learn to get up and down safely. Class size limited to 12 participants.
If you would like more information on Tai Chi for Arthritis or A Matter of Balance or have an interest in becoming an instructor, contact the Wyoming Injury & Violence Prevention team at (307) 777-8034 or by email at email@example.com.
Healthcare Provider-Based Programs
Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, & Injuries (STEADI) Toolkit
The Wyoming Injury & Violence Prevention Program is in the process of providing STEADI Toolkits along with other older adult safety resource materials as a comprehensive senior health toolkit. These resources will be disseminated in community outreach events to medical professional and the general public.
If you would like more information or would like to host a Senior Health day in your Community contact the Wyoming Injury & Violence Prevention team at (307) 777-8034 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The free STEADI Toolkit is available at: STEADI – Older Adult Fall Prevention.
- American Geriatrics Society
- IlluminAge: Implementing Effective Falls Prevention Programs in Your Community
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Home & Recreational Safety
- Fall Prevention Center of Excellence
- National Council on Aging
- National Institute on Aging
- National Resources Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification
- National Safety Council – At Home & In the Community
- Wyoming Injury Prevention Program
- Wyoming Trauma Program