Senior Falls Prevention Project


Peoria, IL, 2004

Senior Falls Prevention Project

Health care issues of the elderly have taken prominence due to the dramatic demographic shift
towards a larger adult population of the elderly and super-elderly, and an emphasis on older individuals leading independent lives. Falling and fear of falling are serious health problems affecting over one-third of individuals over the age of 65. Falling is the leading cause of death in older adults, and adversely affects mental health by decreasing an individual's sense of self- esteem and independence. Each year, over 19,000 seniors in central Illinois suffer serious injury, substantial health care costs, and/or decreased quality of life as a result of falling.

WCBU-FM and the Institute for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPMR) pursued this project with the following objectives: to create awareness of a critical health care issue affecting the elderly in central Illinois; to ensure that the elderly, their families and caregivers have access to information concerning falling hazards, health-related conditions, safety techniques and assistive devices; to provide at-risk seniors with free screenings and fall-intervention services; and to decrease levels of anxiety about the fear of falling among the elderly.

WCBU and IPMR produced a series of seven feature reports focused on some of the multiple health care issues that can result from elderly falling. Listen to them in the online newsroom (Scroll down to find the Sound Partners series). The station also aired a series of public service announcements exploring the issue of maintaining health and safety through knowledge of fall prevention. The two organizations jointly organized a “Lunch and Learn” session on “fall prevention” that was presented to the public and recordeded for broadcast. In addition, IPMR developed a strength-building exercise program for the elderly, and made group and in-home intervention training available to seniors across central Illinois.