Key Takeaways

  • Falls prevention coalitions can bring together organizations and providers that need to collaborate to reduce falls, identify state or community needs, recommend policy changes, and build capacity.

  • Explore the Florida State Falls Prevention Coalition, including their goals, objectives, and activities, and learn how they educate their community about older adult falls. 

Florida has approximately 5.5 million older adults who are valued members of their communities, and they deserve the opportunity to live well and age healthily. A well-known danger that the senior population faces is falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits. Falls are dangerous as they may result in hip fractures and head injuries. These incidents have the potential to become fatal, especially for the elderly.

Section 401.243, of Florida Statutes requires the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to establish an injury-prevention program with responsibility for the statewide coordination and expansion of injury-prevention activities. In 2008, DOH partnered with the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) to host the initial statewide meeting on falls prevention attended by approximately 85 individuals. In addition to a presentation from the National Council on Aging on older adult falls and statewide coalitions, a presentation was provided by representatives from the City of Satellite Beach on a multi-faceted strategy on falls prevention. The consensus at this meeting was the need for a statewide coalition to address falls prevention.

Subsequently, DOH has made preventing or reducing injury-related fatalities from falls a priority in its multi-year state plans, and DOEA has continued to partner in this effort. Both agencies collaborate to varying degrees with an array of stakeholder groups that are directly or indirectly involved in falls prevention. There is recognition that ongoing strategic work is needed for greater impact across the state. Thus, a key activity of the current 2022-2026 State Health Improvement Plan is to convene a state-level falls prevention coalition to elevate statewide, year-round education, training, and awareness.

Current goals and objectives for the Florida Falls Prevention Coalition

  • Goals: Prevent or reduce injuries and deaths from falls. 
  • Objectives:
    • Increase availability and accessibility to evidence-based falls prevention programs and interventions.
    • Increase statewide older adult falls prevention education and awareness opportunities. 
    • Facilitate increased partnerships between the Area Agencies on Aging and the aging network with Emergency Medical Services first responders and other key stakeholders.

Leadership for the Florida Falls Prevention Coalition

  • Florida Department of Health
  • Florida Department of Elder Affairs

Leadership Contact Information

  • Rhonda Jackson, Administrator
    Violence & Injury Prevention Section
    Florida Department of Health
    Tallahassee, FL 32399 – 1723
    Office: 850-245-4470
  • Ashley Apthorp, Division Director
    Statewide Community-Based Services
    Florida Department of Elder Affairs
    4040 Esplanade Way
    Tallahassee, FL 32399
    Office: 850-414-2031

Key Partners for the Florida Falls Prevention Coalition

  • Area Agencies on Agencies (AAAs)/Aging and Disability Resource Centers and partners:
    • Northwest FL Area Agency on Aging
      Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola
      Florida Department of Health, Okaloosa County
      West Florida Area Health Education Center
    • Advantage Aging Solutions AAA
      Florida State University
      Pro Yoga
    • Elder Options AAA
      Century Ambulance Service & Century EMS
      Columbia County Fire Rescue
    • Elder Source AAA
      Northeast Florida AHEC
    • Area Agency on Aging of Pasco and Pinellas
      Community Aging & Retirement Services
      Falls Free Pinellas
      M&D Enterprises of FL, Inc
      Pinellas County Safety and Emergency Services
      SAGES Theater Inc.
      YMCA of the Suncoast
    • Senior Connection Center, Inc. AAA
      AdventHealth Wellness Centers
      Blake Medical Center
      Coalition on Injury Prevention of Polk County Falls Prevention Task Force
      Manatee County Falls Prevention Coalition
    • Senior Resource Alliance AAA
      Crosby Wellness Center
      Winter Park Health Foundation
    • Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida
      Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition Speaker’s Bureau
      Lee Health Trauma Center
      Stabilized Steps, LLC
    • Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Inc.
      Health Care District Palm Beach County
      Palm Beach Fire Rescue
    • Area Agency on Aging of Broward County
      Broward Health
      SE Focal Point
    • Alliance for Aging, Inc. AAA
      FL Keys AHEC
      Little Havana Activities & Nutrition Centers (LHANC)
  • Agency on Health Care Administration
  • AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Ames Productions
  • Florida Physical Therapy Association
  • Florida Podiatric Medicine Association
  • Kavana Consultants
  • Molina Healthcare

What has the Florida Falls Prevention Coalition achieved? 

  1. Annual statewide recognitions and celebrations to commemorate falls prevention awareness
  2. Active evidence-based falls prevention programs operating in various local communities

What are some current challenges for the Florida State Falls Prevention Coalition?

  1. Ongoing falls prevention public awareness and programming statewide
  2. Statewide collaboration around falls prevention

What evidence-based falls prevention programs are currently offered by the Florida State Falls Prevention Coalition?

What outcomes are monitored by the Florida Falls Prevention Coalition?

  • Participants learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and exercise to increase strength and balance.
  • Health benefits include increased social engagement, improved brain function, and improved knowledge of falls risk reduction and nutrition.
  • Health benefits include social stimulation and physical benefits.
  • Participants improve strength, balance, and fitness.
  • Participants learn strategies to implement positive lifestyle changes to stay independent, upright, and active.
  • Participants with arthritis improve all muscular strength, flexibility, balance, stamina, and more.
  • Participants improve strength, balance, mobility, and daily functioning.

More about the Florida Falls Prevention Coalition

  • Florida Health: Older Adult Falls Prevention
  • Florida Department of Elder Affairs: Falls Prevention
  • Strategic Plan: Convene a state-level falls prevention coalition to elevate statewide, year-round education, training, and awareness.