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Suffolk County Falls Prevention Program


 

James L. Tomarken, MD, MPH, MBA, MSW:

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services through the Division of Preventive Medicine has partnered with the New York State Department of Health to implement evidence-based community fall prevention programs that serve older adults. Our programs reach all regions of the county utilizing different resources and partnerships that provide falls prevention programming in Suffolk County communities. These programs are Staying Independent for Life, a two hour falls and injury prevention seminar for senior citizens, and Tai Chi for Arthritis provided in partnership with the Suffolk County YMCA. Between 2010 and 2016 these programs collectively reached over 11,000 senior citizen residents to teach them about how to prevent falls in the home and live independently.

Suffolk County is proud to be one of three counties in New York State selected by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Injury Prevention in 2010 to implement comprehensive health education programs that focus on senior citizen health. Since 2010 Suffolk County Division of Preventive Medicine did not shy from the challenge of working toward preventing falls among the senior citizen population. In June 2015 The efforts of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services was recognized focusing on senior citizen fall prevention programs and was awarded the 2015 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its innovation in addressing this important public health issue.

The Suffolk County Fall Prevention Program for Senior Citizens is a model example of how county government can coordinate services with hospital systems, providers, and community based organizations to best serve its citizens utilizing support from New York State and maximizing limited resources. The long term goal of the fall prevention initiative in Suffolk County is to work with residents, providers and community organizations to support these groups in developing their own fall prevention programs guaranteeing the sustainability of the mission of educating the greatest number of senior citizens about the dangers associated with falls throughout the county.

Welcome to this website about how to protect yourself, your community or your patients from the dangers of fall related injuries.

Sincerely,

James L. Tomarken, MD, MPH, MBA, MSW
Suffolk County Dept. of Health Commissioner

Why think about falls?

two people stretching

Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury and deaths for senior citizens living in New York State. More than one in three over 65 years of age fall each year. Half of the senior citizen population are hospitalized due to a fall, and end up in a nursing home or rehabilitation center.

Note: Program is not only for people 65 and older; you can also be under 65 and still attend a falls prevention program. Research has indicated persons as young as age 50 who participate in preventive injury prevention activities increase their likely hood of staying healthy and staying independent as they grow older.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Census, between 2012 and 2050, “the United States will experience considerable growth in its older population. In 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its population of 43.1 million in 2012.”

According to the Center for Disease Control:

  • 16% of older adults in U.S. have fallen at least one time in the past three months.
  • 31% of older adults in the U.S. sustained an injury that resulted in a visit to a primary care provider.

In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Census reports that the senior citizen is 14.9% of the total population in Suffolk County, New York.

  • As of 2014, there are approximately 450,000 senior citizens who live in Suffolk County.
  • In 2013, Suffolk County ambulance call data identifies 17% calls for EMT service was due to a falls related injury in Suffolk County, New York.

Recognizing the rapid increase in the senior citizen population and their needs related to injury prevention, Suffolk County Department of Health Services through the Division of Preventive Medicine implemented different falls prevention programs to meet this increasing public health need.

Programs and Services

Our falls prevention programs are specifically designed for people who are:

  • At risk of falling
  • Have a fear of falling
  • Who have fallen one or more times

Older man sitting on a bench

Staying Independent for Life

Staying Independent for Life is a comprehensive two-hour falls and injury prevention seminar developed by Suffolk County Department of Health Services. This program, which targets senior citizens, covers risk factors and risk reduction strategies for falls. This workshop focuses on major issues concerning falls prevention.

Topics covered include:

  • Safe footwear
  • Importance of annual vision exams
  • Medication review
  • Home hazards (assessments and modification)
  • Strength and balance exercises

Staying Independent for Life gives participants guidance about voicing concerns with health providers, care givers and other members of their community.

This program is led by a health professional from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

Click here to see a calendar of upcoming Staying Independent for Life programs in your community!

Send us an email for more information about the Staying Independent for Life Program.


Woman on beach doing tai chi.

Tai Chi: For Arthritis and Fall Prevention

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention is a falls prevention program that uses the principles and movements of Tai Chi in helping senior citizens improve their balance and increase their confidence in doing everyday activities.

Classes are led by a trained/certified instructor; the class meets twice a week, 60 minutes for 8 weeks.

This evidence- based program is proven to reduce falls and improve fitness and is designed for older adults who are interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength. Participants will learn:

  • Balance Skills
  • Proper Body Alignment
  • Coordinated Tai Chi movements

During each class core balance exercises are introduced and practiced. Exercises focus on stimulating musculoskeletal and sensory systems via self-initiated movements such as body weight shifting, unilateral weight-bearing, trunk rotation, ankle sways and coordinated eye-head-hand movements.

This program is led by a health professional from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

Click here to see a calendar of upcoming Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance programs in your community!

Send us an email for more information about the Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance Program.

For Providers

About Us

Falls Naco Award

The process of aging doesn't have to be difficult, but by being part of the Suffolk County prevention programs, you can stand on your own, be responsible, and do what is best for you.

Division of Preventive Medicine

The Division of Preventive Medicine offers three education programs that address falls and falls prevention to help senior citizens live healthy and independent lives Staying Independent for Life is a 2 hour falls prevention workshop that covers risk factors and fall reduction strategies Stepping On is a 7 week program that helps senior citizens develop specific knowledge and skills to prevent falls in community setting Tai Chi for Arthritis is a falls prevention program that uses the principles of Tai Chi movement to help seniors improve their balance.


Seniors Learn How To Reduce Falls At
Suffolk County's Falls Prevention Program.


Injury Prevention Committee

Recognizing the public health need for falls prevention, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in 2009 began working with community partners from local agencies, hospitals, colleges and organizations to create an Injury Prevention Committee, the first of its kind in New York State.

  • AARP
  • Dominican Sisters Family Health Services
  • Eastern Long Island Hospital
  • Gentiva Home Health
  • Good Samaritan Hospital
  • John T. Mather Memorial Hospital
  • North Shore LIJ-Health System
  • Peconic Bay Medical Center
  • Retired Senior and Volunteer Program
  • St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center
  • St. Charles Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Stony Brook University Medical center
  • Suffolk County Department of Health Services
  • Suffolk County Office for Aging
  • YMCA of Long Island

Community Partners

  • YMCA of Long Island
  • St. Catherine of Siena Hospital
  • John T. Mather Memorial Hospital
  • Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center
  • Huntington Hospital
  • Peconic Bay Medical Center
  • St. Charles Hospital
  • Lindenhurst Eye Physicians & Surgeons, P.C

Schedules

Up-coming Falls Prevention Programs

Select from the List below

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901