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Orange County OFA Partners with SUNY on Fall Prevention and Home Safety

According to data compiled by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(External Link) (CDC), it is estimated that by 2020, the medical costs for falls in adults 65 years of age and older will be greater than $54 billion each year. The chance of falling among older adults increases to 40% after the age of 80. Two-thirds of adults over the age of 65 who fall will then have another incident within months of their first fall. Six out of ten falls will occur in the home environment, most of which involve environmental hazards. View the NIH report here(External Link).

As our population ages, it is important to investigate new strategies to reduce interacting risk factors (physical, environmental, behavioral) that may increase the risks for falls and resulting injury. These barriers, along with psychosocial factors may threaten older adults' ability to age in place in a healthy, safe manner. Providing older adults with education and resources to reduce their fall risk factors can increase the chances that the older adults can continue to reside in their homes safely and independently. This National Coalition on Aging report provides helpful links(External Link) to these resources.

The Orange County Office for the Aging (OFA) is partnering with SUNY Orange C.A.R.T. (Center for Assistive Rehab and Technology)(External Link) to provide "Tools for Living Life to its Fullest: Fall Prevention and Home Safety". This innovative program incorporates SUNY Orange's Occupational Therapy (OT)(External Link) students with a certified OT to provide informational and educational presentations to the older adults throughout the county such as home assessments, environmental modifications, assistive technology assessments, equipment recommendations and training for consumers, caregivers and family members. This unique partnership connects older adults with services and programs provided by Orange County Office for the Aging in collaboration with college bi-lingual students, occupational therapist and OFA staff. Read an article about the program in the Orange County Office for the Aging's July 2012 newsletter(External Link).

The goal of the program is to assist older adults to safely age in place and enhance their quality of life. In addition, family members and caregivers will be secure knowing that their parent, friend or family member will remain in a safe and comfortable environment. Fall prevention education lessens the need for increased caregiving services and promotes independence and functional performance on the part of older adults.

For more information, contact Ann Marie Maglione, Director, Orange County Office for the Aging, at (845) 615-3700, or visit the Orange County OFA online(External Link).