The Massachusetts Commission on Falls Prevention, which is led by staff at the state’s Department of Public Health, released their biennial legislative report with recommendations on improving how health care providers assess and refer older adults for risk of falls.
Of older adults who do fall, only 50% are likely to talk to their provider about it and only
33% seek medical care after falling, according to research referenced in the report. This may be in part due to the embarrassment and stigma associated with falling (i.e., being viewed as frail), and legitimate concerns about losing independence if their physician or family members find out.
For this reason, the recommendations in the report include having primary care practices integrate an existing risk assessment tool (CDC STEADI) and referring to proven, community-based interventions. Many of these falls prevention activities take place at councils on aging, YMCAs, and other community settings, which could be part of an age-friendly community strategy.
For more information on the Commission’s recommendations, see the full report here.