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January 10, 2014

Steady U: Helping Older Adults Find Balance & Prevent Falls

Falls happen to people of all ages. But when your 5-year-old granddaughter takes a tumble, she bounces right back up. For older adults, recovery sometimes isn’t so simple. Fortunately, many falls are preventable with a little bit of foresight and preparation. That’s the idea behind the Ohio Department of Aging’s new program, Steady U. Its goal is to educate older adults, families, health care providers, businesses, and community leaders about falls and how to prevent them.

The initiative has a number of key components:

Create a One-Stop Resource for Fall Prevention

There are already a number of fall-prevention resources in Ohio. One part of the Steady U program is making all of that valuable information available at one website, www.steadyu.ohio.gov.

Expand “A Matter of Balance” Education and Exercise Program

Studies have shown older adults who stay active and exercise are less likely to experience a fall. The “A Matter of Balance” program empowers older adults of all activity levels to improve their health and prevent falls. This program includes setting goals, making changes around your home to promote safety, and improving balance through fitness and strength. This evidence-based program fits easily into your schedule—just eight sessions in all—and is available in 88 Ohio counties.

Develop a Steady U Toolkit

This toolkit will be made available to healthcare providers so they can guide older patients through a fall risk assessment. Many older adults often do not realize they’re living around fall hazards until they know what to look for. Healthcare providers can help point these things out.

Partner with Businesses to Create “Fall-Free Zones”

Falls don’t just happen in and around your home. This part of the Steady U plan invites stores, restaurants, and other businesses to take good care of their customers by becoming “Fall-Free Zones.” That means identifying and eliminating hazards that may cause slips, trips, and falls. 

Promote Fall Risk Assessments

Steady U will assist retirement living communities in evaluating conditions for safety. Areas to be addressed include having proper lighting, eliminating tripping hazards, and other safety factors. The goal is to incorporate these safety considerations into everyday operations.

Get The Word Out

Finally, Steady U aims to spread the word about proactive fall safety through promotion and partner associations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association Ohio Chapters.

As mentioned above, regular exercise is one of the most effective steps older adults can take for fall prevention. If it’s been a while since you’ve exercised, our free guide “How to Begin a Regular Exercise Routine” can help you get moving again. Download it today!

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