Elderly falls attribute to a significant amount of both dispatches and transports to the Emergency Room when compared to other traumatic call types and a large percentage of these falls occur in the home. Austin-Travis County EMS has a team of trained personnel who conduct FREE home safety assessments to identify potential risks and hazards for slips, trips and falls in the home environment. Any person who meets the following criteria is eligible for a home safety assessment:
Age 65 or older OR concerned about their home situation
Lives independently (not in a nursing home or assisted living facility)
No diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's
Home safety evaluations include the following:
Home hazard mitigation to reduce fall risks
Basic strengthening and balancing activities
Medication review and Vial of Life program kit
Information about FREE safety equipment (canes, lockboxes, wheelchairs, smoke detectors)
CarFit inspection - opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles "fit" them
Many falls are preventable, stay safe with these tips.
Six Steps to Prevent a Fall
Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Austin-Travis County EMS has partnered with local area hospital networks and the Stepping On™ program to provide fall prevention education and resources to local seniors. Contact EMSFallPrevention@austintexas.gov for more information.
Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling and share your history of recent falls.
Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure medication side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.
Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas. Austin-Travis County EMS offers FREE home safety assessments to help you identify potential risks for slips, trips and falls.
Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.
Helpful websites and Austin area resources:
Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area -www.aaacap.org - The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) is a trusted community source for information, referral and support services focused on the health, safety and well-being of older individuals and their caregivers. AAACAP also has a variety of health and wellness workshops available to help older adults live independently and promote healthy aging. These include; Better Choices Better Health, Stress Busting for Caregivers and A Matter of Balance. A Matter of Balance is a proven fall prevention program designed to reduce fears and concerns of falling, reduce fall risk hazards in the home and community, and increase activity. Reach out to the Area Agency on Aging to sign up for a workshop or to find the answers to your questions on aging and community support services.
Family Eldercare - www.familyeldercare.org - Family Eldercare was founded in 1982 by a group of professionals concerned with supporting the family's role as caregiver for frail elders through training and information. The agency offers a variety of resources and services designed to provide a helping hand to seniors and adults with disabilities.
Aunt Bertha - www.auntbertha.com - For people in need, Aunt Bertha is an online directory of social service organizations. Type in your zip code and gain access to local Austin programs, organizations and services.
Drive a Senior Network - www.volunteerdriving.com - The Drive a Senior Network connects Austin area volunteer drivers with seniors who live nearby and who choose to continue living independently. Last year more than 20,000 Central Texas friends and neighbors found themselves in need of a lift to: People like your Mom, making a weekly grocery trip, or your great Uncle Ralph, for his physical therapy; or Aunt Edith, wanting to join her friends for Canasta.
Golden Rollers - www.goldenrollers.org - The Golden Rollers program is a collaboration between the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department that provides an opportunity for adults aged 50 and older to engage in low-impact, bicycle-based recreation, exploration, and transportation. The Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity program uses three-wheeled adult trikes to enable riders of all skill levels to cycle the Boggy Creek Trail system and the Pedernales protected bikeway, which connect to neighborhood amenities like the Rosewood and Metz Recreation Centers, the Butler Hike-and-Bike trail, and an HEB grocery store.