July 13, 2015
HHS targets funding, programs to help older people reduce the risk of falling
As part of the White House Conference on Aging, the Administration on Aging (AoA), a component of the Administration for Community Living, announced the award of $4 million in new grants to significantly expand falls prevention efforts. The funding will reach communities in seven states over the next two years, expanding the reach of AoA’s falls prevention efforts to more than 18,000 additional older Americans. The grants will both increase participation in evidence-based community programs to reduce falls and falls risk, and also improve the programs’ long-term sustainability.
The grants will be awarded to:
- Dartmouth Center for Healthy Aging, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center & Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (ACO), N.H.
- Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, Wisc.
- New York State Department of Health, N.Y.
- The Oasis Institute, Mo.
- New Jersey Department of Human Services, N.J.
- Partners in Care Foundation, Calif.
- United Way of Tarrant County, Texas
One in three Americans aged 65 and older falls every year, and falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those 65 and over. Recovery is often long and painful.
“People who are afraid of falling often limit their activities to avoid situations that might cause a fall,” said Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator for Community Living Kathy Greenlee. “But limiting activities can diminish physical fitness, which makes a fall more likely.”
“That’s why HHS experts have developed tools to help doctors assess the risk for their older patients, and for community organizations to reduce that risk through evidence-based falls prevention programs that build strength and improve balance,” she said.
Research has shown that falls and falls risks can be reduced through a combination of clinical and community-based prevention programs. Many evidence-based community programs have been shown, through randomized controlled trials, to reduce falls and/or fall risk factors significantly.
The AoA recently funded the National Falls Prevention Resource Center, which will work collaboratively with the aging services network, falls prevention grantees, and other stakeholders to increase public education about the risk of falls and how to prevent them, and to bolster the sustainability of local prevention efforts.
In addition to this program funding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is focused on making falls prevention a routine part of clinical care through its initiative called STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents Deaths & Injuries) initiative. STEADI uses established clinical guidelines and tested interventions designed to help health care providers address their older patient’s fall risk, identify modifiable risk factors, and offer effective interventions. To help integrate STEADI into clinical practice, CDC is releasing an online STEADI course offering free continuing education credits to physicians, nurses, certified health education specialists, certified public health professionals and other professionals.
The training will be available on CDC TRAIN starting on July 13, 2015. Users can search the keyword “STEADI” to launch the training after creating an account, or logging into an existing account.
Aging.gov is a new resource site launched today in conjunction with the White House Conference on Aging. For more information on resources and topics to help older adults live independent and fulfilling lives such as healthy aging, elder justice, long-term care, and vital programs like Social Security and Medicare visit http://www.aging.gov