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Community-Based Fall Prevention and Exercise Programs for Older Adults

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Community-based exercise and fall prevention programs afford older adults the opportunity to engage in group-based activities that promote health and wellness, physical activity, and social interaction. This review will analyze eight programs, commonly offered to older adults, that utilize various instructional modes to target health promotion through exercise, falls efficacy, and education.

Recent Findings

All of the programs are supported by randomized control or quasi- experimental designs and have been found to reduce falls, reinforce falls efficacy, or improve some aspect of functional mobility. Program designs vary and include seminar-style instruction, exercise class activities, or a hybrid approach with interprofessional outreach. Physical performance benefits are based on a variety of outcomes. The Timed Up and Go (TUG) assessment was the most frequently administered outcome among programs, though the magnitude of improvement varied. Programs have become more accessible as outreach has extended to rural underserved areas and nontraditional settings such as faith-based organizations.

Summary

Community-based programs offer older adults health promotion opportunities through exercise and education initiatives. Program designs vary and target different constructs of exercise and wellness to meet the needs of a wide variety of aging seniors. As a result of large-scale dissemination endeavors, programs are now extending to rural areas while maintaining operational fidelity.

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Program Resources

  1. A Matter of Balance https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-programs-for-older-adults-2/

  2. Stepping On https://www.steppingon.com/

  3. Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/InjuryandViolencePrevention/OlderAdultFalls/StayActiveandIndependentforLifeSAIL

  4. EnhanceFitness https://projectenhance.org/enhancefitness/

  5. Otago Exercise Program https://healthyagingnc.com/healthy-aging-programs/the-otago-exercise-program/

  6. Tai Ji Quan for Better Balance https://tjqmbb.org/

  7. Healthy Steps for Older Adults https://www.aging.pa.gov/aging-services/health-wellness/Healthy%20StepsFallPrevention/Pages/default.aspx

  8. Rock Steady Boxing https://www.rocksteadyboxing.org/

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Correspondence to Dennis W. Klima.

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Klima, D.W., Rabel, M., Mandelblatt, A. et al. Community-Based Fall Prevention and Exercise Programs for Older Adults. Curr Geri Rep 10, 58–65 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13670-021-00354-w

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Keywords

  • Falls
  • Falls efficacy
  • Exercise