All vulnerable older adults lead a dignified, independent, high quality life in their community.
However, our health care system offers older adults limited options for receiving care in the community, especially for those with low incomes or living in rural areas. And older adults face the risk of events, such as falls, or health changes that can lead to frailty, limit their daily activities and result in a loss of independence.
We call these events triggers of decline, and they are more than the risks older adults face individually, like poor mobility, malnutrition or chronic illnesses. They can also be shaped by challenges in the family or community, such as weak social networks and caregiver stress, and at the societal level with issues like lack of transportation and medication mismanagement. These triggers can occur suddenly or they can build over time, and they often overlap and compound one another.
By focusing on interventions around the triggers of decline, our goal is to improve the quality of care for older adults and prevent the onset of frailty.
Through our work with our community partners, we want to help older adults stay healthy and independent in their homes and communities as they age.
- Challenge: Falls and frailty: One out of every three people over 65 will fall each year, resulting in loss of independence. In fact, falling is a top reason older adults are moved to institutional care. Many falls occur at or close to home, and are preventable.
- Challenge: Caregiver stress: When you’re a caregiver, the demands can be overwhelming. Caregivers report that the stress of caregiving affects their physical and emotional health, finances, and their jobs.
Since 2007, we’ve invested nearly $3 million to prevent falls, and we’re currently developing new ways to address one of the most critical, and most preventable, triggers of decline.
Fewer Trips to the Hospital Due to a Fall
In counties that participated in Step Up to Stop Falls, the rate of hospitalization from unintentional falls went from an average of 2,108 per 100,000 residents to 1,762 from 2005 to 2013. The rate across New York State for the same time period stayed roughly the same.
Caregivers Take Care of Themselves and Those They Care For
Through Powerful Tools for Caregivers, caregivers learned how to manage stress and connect with services. We’re currently developing new programs that will meet the needs of caregivers in our regions.