Evidence-Based Community Fall Prevention Programs at Senior Centers Near 10 US Academic Centers

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Jul;67(7):1484-1488. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15961. Epub 2019 May 3.


Background/objectives: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that patients at risk of falling engage in evidence-based community fall prevention programs (EBCFPPs). EBCFPPs are often delivered in senior centers (SCs). This is the first independent assessment of availability of EBCFPPs in SCs.

Design: Cross-sectional study of four types of EBCFPPs in the 25-mile radius of 10 US academic centers (ACs).

Setting: SCs.

Participants: SCs.

Intervention: None.

Measurements: Number and types of EBCFPPs offered at SCs.

Results: Across the 10 ACs, 249 SCs were sampled. Of the SCs, 35% offered zero, 54% offered at least one, 9% offered at least two, and 2% offered at least three EBCFPPs. Tai Chi of any type was offered in 59.8%, A Matter of Balance was offered in 8.9%, Stepping On was offered in 8.0%, and Staying Active and Independent for Life was offered in 1.2% of SCs sampled. SCs near Columbia University offered all four of the programs, while those near the University of Utah, Johns Hopkins University, and Seattle University only offered three of the programs. In univariate analysis, the number of local SCs was significantly associated with quantity of EBCFPPs (odds ratio [OR] = 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.9-2.6; P < .001), but not with diversity of EBCFPPs (OR = 1.0; 95% CI = 1.0-1.1; P = .13). In multivariate regression, city, sex distribution, and average household income did not correlate with the overall number or the diversity of EBCFPPs, whereas locales with more SCs offered more EBCFPPs (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.7-2.9; P < .001).

Conclusions: A significant number of SCs still do not offer any EBCFPPs. From those that do, few offer a diversity of these programs. Opportunities exist to increase access to EBCFPPs in SCs.

Keywords: fall prevention; falls; geriatrics; senior; senior center.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Senior Centers / organization & administration*
  • United States