Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalization among adults age 65+. The most important message we can share with our community is that falls are preventable. Trauma Trust in association with the Washington State Falls Prevention Coalition and Pierce County Fall Prevention Coalition have information and community resources available for older adult fall prevention.
Older adult falls are the number 1 mechanism of injury for our trauma service. One in three Washington residents over age 65 fall each year. Once an older adult has fallen they have a 70% chance of falling again and with each fall the risk of significant injury increases. In Pierce County, the incidence of older adult falls is rising dramatically and the number of fatal falls has almost doubled in the last 9 years.
Finding Our Balance: 2018 Washington State Action Plan for Older Adult Falls Prevention (PDF) is a five-year plan with six strategy areas of focus. Read the plan to learn about the impact of falls on older adults and their communities and discover ways you can get involved in falls prevention.
Fall Prevention Programs
Evidence Based Fall Prevention Programs are proven to decrease risk of falls in older adults. For more information on all of the programs that have met the highest criteria of evidence for fall prevention please see the NCOA’s Fall Prevention Resource Center. Please check the sites for the programs listed below to see updated Washington training information. Trainings for Washington State can be found on the Living Well Website.
Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL)
Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) is a strength, balance and fitness program for adults 65 and older. Performing exercises that improve strength, balance and fitness are the single most important activity that adults can do to stay active and reduce their chance of falling.
SAIL was developed in Washington with DOH support. Check out SAIL for more information
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance™ is an evidence-based falls prevention program delivered in two one-hour sessions each week for 24 weeks.
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance – Washington hosts all Washington training sites, instructors and classes.
A Matter of Balance
A Matter of Balance is an 8-week structured group intervention that emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels.
There are four Matter of Balance sites in Washington: Olympia, Spokane, Seattle and Wenatchee
EnhanceFitness is low-cost, evidence-based group falls prevention and physical activity program developed specifically for older adults.
EnhanceFitness was developed in Washington and is available in many areas of the state.
National Council on Aging: www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls