The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) has awarded a $46,045 grant to the Senior Resource Alliance to conduct a Falls Prevention Pilot program, just in time for Florida’s Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22, 2009.

Aimed at older adults primarily in Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park, the multi-faceted program will include public awareness and educational seminars; Matter-Of-Balance exercise classes; in-home assessments for home injury control; medication management; nutrition counseling; home modifications, and assistive devices.

Funding also covers the cost of building a local Falls Prevention Coalition comprised of a variety of health and social service providers who are likewise, interested in preventing falls.

The need for such a program is great as evidenced by 2007 statistics citing that among Orange County residents 65 and older, there were 47 deaths, at least 658 non-fatal hospitalizations, and at least 1,493 non-fatal emergency department visits due to fall-related injuries among this population.  According to the Florida Department of Health, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits among Orange County’s senior population. 

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s proclamation announcing Falls Prevention Awareness Day, notes statewide more than 125,000 hospital-treated injuries from falls occur each year among Floridians age 65 and older.

“Many of these falls are preventable, that is the good news,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director-Older Adults. “By combining falls prevention services– including physical activity–and making sure that the home environment is safe and supportive, we can help older adults remain injury free and independent.  This is a goal we all share.” 

For more information on the Falls Prevention Program, please call Sarah Lightell at the Senior Resource Alliance (407) 514-1816 or email her at lightells@sraflorida.org