Falls Prevention Among Russian/Ukrainian-speaking Older Adults

A 3'x4' poster will be displayed at the UW Working Together for Elder Friendly Futures conference this month.

In 2012, Aging and Disability Services (ADS)—the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County—tested falls prevention toolkit strategies targeting case management clients who were at risk for falls or had a history of falls, who also lived in independent senior residential facilities. The goal was to reduce their falls risk by educating them about the falls prevention components (regular exercise, safe home environments, eye exams, and medication management).

Make your home safer, exercise for balance and strength, get your eyes checked, and ask your doctor to review your medicines.

Four ADS long-term care case managers who speak Russian and/or Ukrainian received fall prevention training from the University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, which covered the prevalence of falls, falls prevention program components, screening tools, cultural barriers, and the importance of exercise. The case managers then conducted workshops with senior residents and their caregivers, which focused on steps to prevent falls, exercises to increase strength and balance, and medication management.

The case managers' primary audience was Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking clients. They conducted the workshops in those languages, and developed a poster and a video specifically for Russian-speaking elders. The project serves as a model for Area Agencies on Aging to use when engaging case management clients at risk for falls.

Recently ADS was selected to produce an interactive display of this work for the Innovation Showcase at the Working Together for Elder Friendly Futures conference on September 11 and 12, 2013. Components include facts about falls, a summary of falls prevention interventions, the methodology used with case management clients, outcome data, the falls prevention video (in English), and a summary of lessons learned.

ADS staff involved in this successful project include case managers Constantin Korff, Angela Karelina, Luda Melnik, and Marina Minasyan; their manager, Hilary Cross; and planner Karen Winston. The conference poster was created by ADS planner Irene Stewart.

Special thanks to University of Washington staff Patti Noritake Matsuda, PT, PhD, DPT (Department of Rehabilitation Medicine) and Sally York, RN (UW School of Nursing) as well as our funders, the Washington State Department of Health.

For more information about ADS in this area, read Falls Prevention Efforts Succeed in South King County (AgeWise King County, January 2013) and Falls—Predictable and Preventable (AgeWise King County, September 2012), visit the Falls Prevention webpage or e-mail Karen Winston (karen.winston@seattle.gov).