FAQs

What is Down With Falls Coalition-Orange County?

The Down with Falls Coalition was established in 2006 by a grant from the Archstone Foundation to provide awareness and accessibility to fall prevention through balance and mobility training, medical management, and home modification for older adults and their caregivers in Orange County. The Coalition currently focuses on community and health professional education through the Speakers Bureau.

 


Who runs the coalition and how do I contact them?

The Coalition is led by a group of dedicated members who serve on the steering committee. Coalition members have the opportunity to participate in ad hoc committees throughout the year to work on various events and projects. You can contact us at 1-800-510-2020 via email at downwithfallsocinfo@gmail.com

 


When does the coalition meet up? 

The Coalition meets quarterly (January, April, July, and October) to learn more about fall risk reduction from industry professionals and to discuss Coalition activities.

 


What other local coalitions are there in California?

Please visit http://stopfalls.org/coalitions-networks/local-coalitions-in-california/ for more information.

 

 

How do I sign up to become a part of the coalition?

Membership consists of organizations or individuals who support the purpose and mission of the Down with Falls Coalition and who submit a membership application. Members will re-apply for membership for each calendar year in January. If you are interested in joining the coalition, please complete and submit a membership application.

 

 

What are some facts about falls among older adults?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • - One out of three older adults (aged 65 or older) falls each year but less than half talk to their healthcare providers.
  • - Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.
  • - In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized.
  • - In 2010, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation was $30 billion.

 

Where do falls occur most often?

Falls can happen anywhere, but more than half of the falls occur at home. Many of these falls can be prevented by making simple changes around the home (home modification).

 

 

Should older adults notify their doctors if they fall?

Yes, older adults should notify their doctors if they fall or almost fall because that way the doctors can spot the signs and diagnose the underlying problems. It is important that they report the falls in details such as when, where, and how so the doctors can determine whether if the fall is due to medical issues such as low blood pressure or other problems. Notify the doctors also helps find ways to prevent future falls.

 

 

How do older adults prevent falls?

A few effective ways to prevent falls in older adults are:

  • - Exercise regularly. It is important that older adults focus on leg exercises to increase leg strength and improve balance. Tai Chi programs are especially good because they improve balance and control.
  • - Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medication to identify medicines that may cause side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness, including over-the-counter medications.
  • - Have their eye examination at least once a year and update their eye glasses to maximize their vision.
  • - Make their homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower, and next to the toilet, adding handrails along the stairways, and improving the lighting in their homes.

 

 

Why is it important to prevent falls in older adults?

According to the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence falls can result in hip fractures, head injuries or even death. In many cases, those who have experienced a fall have a hard time recovering and their overall health deteriorates. In California alone, 1.3 million older adults experience an injury due to falling. A person is more likely to fall if he/she is age 80 or older or if he/she has previously fallen. Over time people may feel unsteady when walking due to changes in physical abilities such as vision, hearing, sensation, and balance. People who become fearful of falling may reduce their involvement in activities. Also the environment may be designed or arranged in a way that makes a person feel unsafe.

 

 

What are the major risk factors for falls among older adults?

Falls among older adults are unfortunately associated with both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Results of intrinsic factors include age-related physiological changes, impairments to the sensory-nervous system, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and specific acute and chronic diseases. Extrinsic factors include environmental hazards and obstacles interfering with safe mobility, and medication side effects (Steinberg, Cartwright, Peel, & William, 2000; TIdeiksaar, 2001).

 

 

What are the best strategies for fall prevention?

Research indicates that the most effective interventions to prevent falls for persons at moderate to high risk of falls are multi-factorial, including environmental modifications along with risk assessment (including medication management) and physical activity (exercise).

 

 

 

References:

Fall Prevention Center of Excellence

http://stopfalls.org/what-is-fall-prevention/faq/

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

NIH Senior Health

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/faq/faqlist.html