Falls Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.  One in three persons over the age of 65 falls each year; the number grows to one in two for those 80 years or older.  Every 13 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.

How SAFE is your home? 

Nearly 85% of falls occur at home due to "environmental hazards".  Use this home safety checklist to identify potential hazards.  Correct any items to which you answered "NO."

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.


A MatMOB plain-Colorter of Balance

The York County Area Agency on Aging is one of several community groups offering falls prevention classes.  A Matter of Balance:  Managing Concerns about Falls is a nationally recognized program that can help reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falling.  Trained volunteer coaches teach the program in a variety of community settings. 
      
MOB3Participants 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

A Matter of Balance is conducted in 8 - 2 hour sessions.  The class size is small, with a limit of 12 participants.  This offering is a free community service.  A schedule of upcoming classes can be viewed at this link

For more information on this program or to register for classes, contact us at (717) 771-9610 or 1-800-632-9073.  To become a volunteer Matter of Balance coach, download the volunteer coach job description and volunteer application.

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

Falls 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 York County adults.  For more information on the Falls Free Coalition of York County visit the website at www.fallsfreeyork.org or view their brochure at this link.

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/foot wear.

A unique part of this program is the involvement of participants in physical skill screenings to determine an individual’s fall risk.  Participants will be referred to appropriate healthcare professionals and community resources as deemed necessary, to meet one’s needs when it comes to preventing falls.

This is a FREE 2-day program, held for 2 hours each day.  A schedule of upcoming sessions can be viewed at this link.

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. Resistant bands are introduced in session #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. Upcoming sessions can be viewed at this link.