Falls Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. 1 in 3 persons over the age of 65 falls each year; the number grows to 1 in 2 for those 80 years or older. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. Every 8 minutes an older adult in Pennsylvania is hospitalized for a fall-related injury. Here in York County, deaths from falls are on the rise.

Risk Factors for Falls

There are many risk factors that contribute to falling. Some are modifiable. Most falls are caused by the interaction of multiple risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chance of falling. 
Risk factors include:

  • Muscle / lower body weakness
  • Difficulties with balance and gait
  • Poor vision
  • Certain medications
  • Postural dizziness/blood pressure that drops
  • Problems with feet and/or shoes
  • Home hazards

Falls threaten safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based falls prevention programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be substantially reduced.

Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. The truth is, they are not! Most falls can be prevented - and each willing older adult has the power to reduce his/her own risk.

Home Safety Checklist

Nearly 85% of falls occur at home due to "environmental hazards". Use this Home Safety Checklist (PDF) to identify potential hazards. Correct any items to which you answered "No."

Falls Free Coalition of York County Opens in new windowFalls Free Coalition of York County

The Falls Free Coalition of York County is an active organization with a mission of partnering with the community to increase fall prevention awareness. For more information, visit the Falls Free Coalition of York County website or view their Brochure (PDF).

Fall Prevention Workshops

Note: Face-to-face classes have resumed. If you have an interest in any of our Fall Prevention classes or would like to know the status of these classes, please contact Megan at 717-771-9610 or 800-632-9073, or email the Agency on Aging.

A Matter of Balance

A Matter of BalanceThe York County Area Agency on Aging is one of several community groups offering falls prevention classes. A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falls. This program utilizes volunteer coaches to teach 8, 2-hour classes where participants learn to:

  • View falls and fear of falling as controllable
  • Set realistic goals for increasing activity
  • Change their environment to reduce fall risk factors
  • Promote exercise to increase strength and balance

Who Should Attend?

  • Anyone concerned about falls
  • Anyone interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength
  • Anyone who has fallen in the past
  • Anyone who has restricted activities because of falling concerns
  • Anyone age 60 or older, ambulatory and able to problem-solve.

A Matter of Balance is conducted in eight 2-hour sessions.
The class size is small, with a limit of 12 participants.
This offering is a free community service.

Class dates & times can be found on our Health & Wellness Class Schedules page.

Healthy Steps for Older Adults (HSOA)

An evidence-based program, Healthy Steps for Older Adults reduces fall risks among older adults by raising awareness about the causes of falls and how to prevent them.

Participants will learn how to exercise safely at home and be offered information on ways to improve their health and well-being. Discussions will include home and medication safety, as well as appropriate foot care/footwear.

Participants will take a Functional Physical Assessment to determine their fall risk score. Participants will be referred to appropriate healthcare professionals and community resources as deemed necessary, to meet their needs when it comes to preventing falls.

This is a free 2-day program, held for 2 hours each day.

Class dates & times can be found on our Health & Wellness Class Schedules page.

Healthy Steps in Motion (HSIM)

Healthy Steps in Motion (HSIM) is an exercise-focused fall prevention program for people with different fitness levels.

It is a free 8-session program, but each session is only an hour in length. A physical skills screening is done at the first session to assess for fall risk.

Exercises are done each session - begins with a low-intensity workout increasing to a moderate-intensity workout. Resistance bands are introduced in session Number 3. There are advanced exercise options.

Though it is mostly exercise, there is an educational component, which includes Exercise Safety, Choosing the Right Shoes, How Much Exercise is Enough, Goal Setting and Keeping Track, etc.

Participants receive a Guide with the exercises, hand-outs and resource material.

Class dates & times can be found on our Health & Wellness Class Schedules page.

Additional falls prevention classes and exercise programs are available through the York County Community Senior Centers. To find a Center near you, visit the Senior Center page of this website.