Colorado UCHealth (UCH) has cited research indicating Colorado deaths from trauma are 15% higher than the national average, and Colorado ranks 5th in the nation for deaths due to falls. Data such as this is one of the driving reasons why UCHealth Memorial has established the Memorial Injury Prevention and Research Institute (MIPRI), with a goal of improving lives through research and outreach and reducing preventable injury and death as much as possible.
Older Colorado adults can take advantage of that research and outreach in two UCH programs. One is called Aging with Independence & Mobility (AIM), a fall prevention program delivered virtually, along with optional in-person attendance in selected areas. It is free for all participants and is intended for those who are over the age of 50 and who are at risk of falling. The other is called Stepping On, which is provided through a workshop that meets for two hours a week for seven weeks, led by a health professional.
How Aging with Independence & Mobility (AIM) works for Coloradans
In AIM, a physical therapist demonstrates how to get up from a fall safely and how to manage stairs, curbs, and inclement weather, with an emphasis on educating participants on balance and strengthening exercises. The program will also review home modifications, appropriate footwear, medication management, use of assistive devices, and the importance of vision to reduce fall risk. Guest speakers each week go over modifiable risk factors to decrease fall risk.
Each AIM participant sits in on a 1-hour session once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. If taking the program virtually from their own home, UCH will provide participants the needed technology (iPads with Wi-Fi capabilities, training, etc.) to complete the program. Participants will use the Zoom platform to login for the 1-hour-sessions. UCH staff will also complete one in-home visit to drop off a packet of information, do a home safety check, administer a pre-evaluation (baseline) test, drop off technology (if needed), and provide Zoom training.
For in-person participating, enrollees will have the option (in most counties) to take the same virtual program at pre-designated locations. This will accommodate those who do not have Wi-Fi at their home, such as in many rural areas at this time. Host locations will arrange the technology setup and provide the physical space for participants to view the lessons on Zoom and practice the exercises as necessary. For these participants, the baseline evaluations will be done during the first class of the program.
Directly following completion of the AIM program, a UCH staff member will administer a post-program survey and two post-program fall evaluation tests. Phone call check-ins will be made at 3, 6, and 12 months following completion of all four classes.
How Stepping On works for Coloradans
The Stepping On program consists of a workshop that meets for two hours a week for seven weeks.
Workshops are conducted by a health professional and a peer leader who shares your concern about falls. In addition, local guest experts provide information on exercise, vision, safety, and medications.
Topics covered in Stepping On include:
- Simple balance and strength training.
- The role that vision plays in keeping your balance.
- How medications can contribute to falls.
- Ways to keep from falling when out in your community.
- What to look for in safe footwear.
- How to eliminate falls hazards from your home.
Stepping On is designed for anyone who is age 60 or older, has had a fall in the past year, or is fearful of falling. It is particularly suited for someone who lives at home. It is not, however, designed for someone with dementia. Classes are offered throughout the year.
For questions or to register, UCH lists the following contacts:
- In metro Denver, contact Laurie.Lovedale@uchealth.org or call 720-848-4805.
- In Colorado Springs, contact Lori.Morgan2@uchealth.org or call 719-365-2872.
- In Larimer county, contact Alison Weston at Alison.Weston@uchealth.org or call 970-495-7502.
- In Longmont, contact Valorie Peaslee at Valorie.Peaslee@uchealth.org or call 720-718-1210.