CDPHP Collaborative News - Spotlight on: Improving Strength & Balance at Any Age to Prevent Falls - SEPTEMBER 2015

Alaska Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

CDPHP Collaborative News

Safe and Healthy Me - Eat Well, Move More, Stay Safe, Tobacco Free.

Adult Falls Prevention Links


> 2015 Adult Falls PSA


> Safe and Healthy Me! Falls Prevention Video "Meet Becky"

Safe and Healthy Me - Meet Becky.

Fall Prevention Partner Contacts

Anchorage Area:

  • Carmen Montano
    Health & Wellness Coordinator,
    Anchorage Senior Activity Center
  • 907-770-2025

Mat-Su and Statewide:

  • Ali Young
    Health and Wellness Manager, Fall Prevention
    Wasilla - Seniors, Inc.
  • 907-376-3104

Safe and Healthy Me


Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Spotlight on:

Improving Strength & Balance at Any Age to Prevent Falls

Tai Chi - good for balance, protects from falls

"Getting Rid of the Throw Rug Won’t Save Grandpa!” was the title of an article written by Mike Bearce, in which the injury prevention specialist explained that one of the first things we do to help an unstable elderly person is “senior-proof” the home to prevent falls. Examples include getting rid of trip hazards like throw rugs, installing grab bars in the bathroom, and coaxing elderly loved ones into recycling old stacks of newspapers.

Though very important, picking up clutter is only part of the picture. People of all ages need sufficient balance to safely walk outside in the yard, walk to the mailbox and walk around the grocery store. Fall prevention across all kinds of environments requires a sufficient level of physical strength and balance. The Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Injury Prevention program is currently airing a radio announcement that states “you’re never too old to be stronger.” This is true for people in their 20s as well as in their 90s.

About 30 people across the state have been trained to lead evidence-based exercise programs shown to reduce the risk of falls by older adults. You and your health care provider can find more information on the Injury Prevention website, adult falls page: Alaska Fall-Related Injury Prevention.

Environment is only one factor affecting older people’s risk for falling. Research shows that if you place older adults who are at risk of falling (for example, people who are taking more than four medications or who have had one injurious fall in the past year) into a cluttered environment, and another group into an uncluttered environment, some people in both environments will fall.[1]  The existence of home hazards alone does not cause falls, but rather it is the interaction between older people’s physical abilities and their exposure to environmental hazards that is important. Some studies have found that environmental hazards contribute to falls to a greater extent in older active people than in older frail people.[2] This is most likely due to the increased exposure to potential hazards, as a higher proportion of such falls occur outside the home where older, active people are more likely to spend time.

Once older people begin to fall several times a month, they are likely to continue falling, regardless of the condition of their environment. Therefore, frequent falls (even without injuries) should be considered a bright red flag for everyone involved, regardless of the excuses you hear (“It was an accident.” or “It was my fault, I wasn’t looking.”).

When looking at the functional ability of an older person, Parkinson’s disease and being home alone for 10 or more hours per day were the best predictors of falls not related to the environment. Arthritis and poor depth perception were the strongest predictors for falls related to surroundings, such as tripping over a rug.[3] This information may lead to improved strategies for preventing falls among older people.

By all means, continue to pick up the clutter around the house.  Doing more than that is essential to prevent falls, however. Encourage your family members to start a physical activity plan that fits their lifestyle and health requirements. The strength and balance that comes from regular physical activity will help them remain more independent and prevent falls that cause injury and diminish their quality of life.


  1. Lord SR, Menzi HB, Sherrington, C. Home environment risk factors for falls in older people and the efficacy of  home modifications. Age and Ageing 2006; 35-S2: ii55–ii59; Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. doi:10.1093/ageing/afl088
  2. Sattin RW, Rodriguez JG, DeVito CA, Wingo PA. Home environmental hazards and the risk of fall injury events among community-dwelling older persons. J Am Geriatr Soc 1998; 46: 669–76.
  3. Northridge ME, Nevitt MC, Kelsey JL. Non-syncopal falls in the elderly in relation to home environments. Osteoporos International 1996; 6(3):249-55


Alaska CDPHP Public Health Webinars

Key Section Publications

Save the Date - September 2015

10th Annual Alaska Asthma & Allergy Conference

Wheezin’, Sneezin’ and Itchin’ in Alaska


Alaska Academy of Family Physicians - 1st Annual Family Medicine Summit

  • When: September 11-13, 2015
  • Where: Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Talkeetna, AK
  • Learn More>


Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA)- Annual Meeting

  • When: September 23-25, 2015
  • Where: Alyeska Resort - Girdwood, AK
  • Learn More>


Alaska Nurse Practitioner Association Annual Conference

  • When: September 17-19, 2015
  • Where: Anchorage Marriott Downtown
  • Learn More>

Save the Date - October 2015

2015 All-Alaska Medical Conference- Exhibitor Registration

Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants

  • When: October 8-9, 2015
  • Where: Sheraton Anchorage
  • Learn More>


Alaska Nurses Conference - Everyday Leadership

  • When: October 9-10, 2015
  • Where: Embassy Suites, Anchorage
  • Learn More>


10th Annual Alaska School Health and Wellness Institute

  • When: October 26-28, 2015
  • Where: Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage
  • Learn More>


National Association of Social Workers, Alaska Chapter Conference

  • When: October 22-24, 2015
  • Where: BP Energy Center, Anchorage
  • Learn More>