SACRAMENTO — UC Davis is seeking participants for new community healthy effort aimed at reducing falls among older adults.
The UCD Health System’s Trauma Prevention Program and department of physical medicine and rehabilitation are piloting weekly workshops workshops called “Stepping On” that provide participants with suggestions for improving balance and strength, ideas about home modifications and insights on medication, footwear and sleep, according to a news release.
The program will launch with a pair of free seven-week workshops for people age 65 or older. The first will begin Wednesday, the second on Jan. 2. Once the pilot program is completed, UCD plans to offer the workshops free throughout the year.
Falls are the leading cause of injury death for Americans 65 and older.
“Every year we admit hundreds of seniors to our hospital because they have fallen at home,” said Christy Adams, coordinator for the Trauma Prevention Program. “Last year, more than 400 people over the age of 65 came to UC Davis Medical Center because of fall-related injuries.
“We know those numbers can be reduced, and this program is recognized for helping older adults remain safely active and healthy.”
Developed by an occupational therapist, Stepping On is aimed at heightening awareness of the risk of falls and at helping older adults adopt behaviors that can reduce that risk. Participants in the program reduced falls by 31 percent, according to a 2004 Journal of American Geriatrics Society article.
An estimated 20 to 30 percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, according to a Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging study. UCD notes that even if no injuries occur after a fall, many seniors develop a fear of falling and so choose to limit physical activities — which can in turn lean to reduced mobility and loss coordination.
The pilot project is a collaboration between UCD and the California Department of Public Health, Safe and Active Communities Branch.