Aoa Initiative Developing National Models
Beattie, Bonita Lynn, Aging Today
One part of the Safety of Seniors Act recently passed by Congress calls for funding research and community demonstration projects. Identifying and supporting effective best practices and model programs will be essential to any effort aimed at preventing falls among U.S. elders.
The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) has led local and state efforts in selected communities throughout the United States, with the National Council on Aging serving as the nationwide resource center in partnership with state agencies in aging and public health. These endeavors are helping to disseminate, embed and sustain evidence-based health promotion programs. The emphasis is on reaching those at risk while ensuring that programs remain true to their original mission and achieve their intended health outcomes.
Currently, 24 states are receiving threeyear AoA grants for this work; Atlantic Philanthropies challenge grants are going to three additional states. Also, 11 of the funded states are implementing fall-prevention initiatives. Among these are:
Easy Tai Chi, an Oregon program, is supported by research showing that it reduced the risk of participant falls by 55%. Easy Tai Chi is being disseminated in western Oregon, where nearly 600 older adults have participated.
Stepping On, which is being adapted and tested in Madison, Wis., is based on an Australian approach that proved to lower participants' risk of falling by nearly two-thirds. Although the Australian program developed a tool kit and an instruction manual for replication, the Wisconsin researchers are modifying the program elements and structuring traming manuals for providers to ease dissemination in the United States. Statistics are not yet available on the program's reach in the Madison region.
A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program that has successfully addressed the fear of falling, promoted self-efficacy and increased appropriate levels of physical activity in participants (average age 79), who have reported fewer falls. …