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:
City of Austin resident
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.
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.
Emergency Preparedness is especially important for our senior population. Click here to learn how to make a plan, build an emergency kit, and stay informed when disaster strikes.
Helpful websites and Austin area resources for seniors:
National Vial of Life Project - The Vial of Life Project is a smart way to have your medical information organized and on-hand for first responders in the event of an emergency. Download and print for FREE the essential forms, decals and instructions to assemble your kit at www.vialoflife.org
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.
AGE of Central Texas - www.ageofcentraltx.org - AGE of Central Texas is a regional nonprofit organization that provides education and support to people all along the spectrum of growing older, no matter where they are on that journey. Each year, AGE serves more than 3,000 older adults and caregivers through its primary interrelated programs: adult day health care, caregiver education and resources, early memory loss support, health equipment lending, and peer based computer classes for seniors.
Meals on Wheels Central Texas - www.mealsonwheelscentraltexas.org - Meals on Wheels Central Texas seeks to nourish and enrich the lives of the homebound and other people in need through programs that promote dignity and independent living. Meals on Wheels Central Texas is one of the largest meal-delivery organizations in the state, distributing 3,000 meals each business day to homebound older adults and people with disabilities.
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.
City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department - The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of programs and services for people 50 years of age and older. Activities include traveling, pursuing old hobbies and learning new ones, socializing with friends, meeting new people, increasing knowledge, becoming and staying physically fit, supplementing income, contributing to the community and much more!
Senior Living - www.seniorliving.org - A leader in senior safety and research which has helped over 25 million seniors and caretakers since it's inception. Senior Living conducts many studies including this guide about reliance on substances for coping with aging, among others.