As Tennessee’s population ages, the prevention of fall injuries is becoming a serious public health challenge. There were 554 deaths related to falls in Tennessee in 2013. Approximately 86%, or 474, occurred in individuals who were 65 years old and older. Many seniors experience a fear of falling and as a result they limit their activity levels which can often cause physical weakness and actually increase their fall risk.
Some senior fall prevention training that is currently available includes:
- “A Matter of Balance” was developed by Boston University and Maine Health Partnership for Healthy Aging and is offered in Hamilton and surrounding counties. This program can help reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falling. The program is designed for older adults living in the community who are concerned about falls, have sustained a fall in the past, restrict activities because of concerns about falling, are interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength and are age 60 or older. Throughout eight 2-hour sessions, participants learn to:
- View falls as controllable
- Set goals for increasing activity
- Make changes to reduce fall risk at home
- Exercise to increase strength and balance
- Stay Active and Independent for Life (S.A.I.L): SAIL is an evidence-based program designed to prevent falls and includes exercise classes, educational materials and self-assessments. The classes are designed specifically for older adults and focus on strength, balance, flexibility and aerobics. The Knox County Health Department (KCHD) offers instructor training and support to maintain the SAIL program locally. For more information on SAIL instructor training, please contact KCHD health educator Rachel Frazier at 865-215-5175 or Rachel.Frazier@knoxcounty.org.