12-question online screening tool identifies falls risks and offers resources to take action to reduce them
Arlington, VA (September 14, 2020) – During Falls Prevention Awareness Week, September 21-25, 2020, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, is launching Falls Free CheckUp/Chequeo Contra Caídas, an innovative online tool—available in both English and Spanish—that helps older adults assess their risk of falling and offers them a wealth of bilingual resources to stay safe.
The self-directed survey asks older adults 12 questions about their potential falls risk, such as balance and strength, medications, worry about falls, and past history of falls. A score of four or more indicates a risk for falls. After completing the screening, older adults receive their results by email, along with specific steps and resources to reduce their risk and advice on following up with their health care provider.
The checkup is built on NCOA’s deep expertise in falls prevention as leader of the National Falls Prevention Resource Center, funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, and the Falls Free® Initiative. NCOA has sponsored Falls Prevention Awareness Day in September for the past 12 years, and this year expanded the event to a full week to bring additional attention to this critical health issue and reach more older adults. As part of NCOA’s commitment to reaching the growing Hispanic and Latinx older adult community, the checkup and resources are also offered in Spanish.
“We want older adults to be their own agents of change in ensuring they age well, and the Falls Free CheckUp/Chequeo Contra Caídas empowers them to do just that by providing a simple, confidential assessment of their falls risks and proven methods to address them,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging. “The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of things, but one thing that’s still the same is falling is not a normal part of aging. There are steps older adults can take to reduce their risk. The online screening is an excellent first step in taking action.”
One in four Americans aged 65+ falls every year. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries, such as hip fractures and brain injuries, for older adults. They are costly—in dollars and in impact on quality of life. However, falling is not an inevitable part of growing older. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based programs, and community-clinical partnerships, the number of falls among older adults can be reduced substantially.
During Falls Prevention Awareness Week, NCOA will host Facebook live events in English and Spanish featuring experts who will offer practical tips for older adults to stay safe. In addition, state and local members of the Falls Free Coalition will be sponsoring virtual events in communities across the country.