USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
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In this section, possible discussion topics for each of the three groups mentioned above are presented. Not all of the following topics are appropriate for all communities, and as noted above, your choice of discussion items will depend on your advocacy goal and the current climate in your community. This list is by no means exhaustive. Add your suggestions to the list and share your good ideas with others.

Group 1: Possible topics to discuss with Public Health Department directors and Area Agency on Aging directors and/or planners include:

  • describing the problem of falls
  • citing current successful fall prevention activities already taking place in the community
  • adopting fall prevention as a priority and including it in area plans
  • encouraging contracted service providers to incorporate fall prevention into their activities through a requirement in theRequest for Proposals process
  • Allocate funds for permanent staff at Area Agencies on Aging / Department of Public Health to oversee fall prevention efforts
  • creating a fall prevention task force or supporting an existing one
  • supporting efforts to gather local fall-related data from hospitals and emergency medical services

Group 2:  Possible topics to discuss with elected officials, other important officials and their staff:

  • describing the problem of falls
  • citing current successful fall prevention activities already taking place in the community
  • passing proclamations in support of Fall Prevention Awareness week in September 2008
  • adopting fall prevention efforts as a community priority
  • including fall prevention guidelines in county general plans
  • supporting a new or existing fall prevention task force
  • including fall prevention guidelines in local planning documents related to housing, parks and recreation, transportation, circulation, street and sidewalk repair, and emergency and disaster efforts
  • allocate funds for permanent staff at Area Agencies on Aging / Department of Public Health to oversee fall prevention efforts
  • using planning tools, such as condition of approval, to provide incentives for local developers to incorporate the principles of universal design and home modification
  • supporting programs that provide home modifications, fall prevention education , medication review, fall risk assessments and strength/balance classes
  • supporting community audits related to safety and walkability; of particular interest are intergenerational walkability audits (see http://www.caphysicalactivity.org/walkkit/, page 26)

Group 3: The media receives many contacts from individuals and organizations and is likely the most difficult of the three groups to contact. Media professionals who would make good contacts are those who write or discuss health, community, or senior issues. Materials sent to the media should be short, precise, and eye-catching. Also, you are more likely to receive attention if you can show the media how it (the media) will be helping the public by publicizing and supporting fall prevention. It really helps to have a link to a specific news event; for example, a proclamation being issued or a hearing held.

Topics of interest to discuss include:

  • creating awareness of falls and the need for fall prevention
  • providing fall prevention education
  • providing information to the media about how the media and the public can become involved in fall prevention efforts
  • findings about the public costs of senior falls

Posted in: Advocacy Efforts