What is Stepping On?


Stepping On is a program that offers older adults a way of reducing falls by incorporating and discussing a range of issues that include falls and risks, strength and balance exercises, initiating a medication review, vision exams, home safety, safe footwear and what to do and how to cope after a fall. The Stepping On course consists of seven weekly classes that are each approximately two-hours in length, followed by a home assessment at three-months, and a six month follow-up. For more information about Stepping On please visit https://wihealthyaging.org/stepping-on

The Stepping On program is research-based and scientifically proven to reduce falls by over 30% among participants. The original study was conducted by professional geriatric practitioners and researchers at the University of Sydney Australia as a 14-month randomized trial involving 310 elders aged 70 and older, who had a fall in the previous 12 months or were concerned about falls.
The eligibility criteria for participation in the Stepping On program is:

  • age 60 and older,
  • had a fall in the last year or have a fear of falling,
  • are cognitively intact and able to move independently on own or with assistance (cane or walker),

The Stepping On community workshops are facilitated by trained leaders who have successfully completed the 3-day Leader Training. 

Overview of Stepping On Sessions:

Session 1 Introduction, Overview, and Choosing What to Cover
Get to know each other, provide an overview of program, share fall experiences and choose what additional topics to cover in the course of the program. Guest physical therapist introduces the balance and strength exercises.

Session 2 The Exercises and Moving about Safely
Review and practice exercises with guest physical therapist, explore the barriers and benefits of exercise, moving about safely – chairs and steps, learning not to panic after a fall.

Session 3 Advancing Exercises and Home Hazards
Review and practice exercises, discuss when and how to advance your exercises, identify hazards in and about the home and problem-solving solutions.

Session 4 Vision and Falls, Footwear, and Community Safety
Review and practice exercises. The guest vision expert discusses the influence of vision on risk of falling, and the guest community safety expert talks about strategies to get around the local community and reduce the risk of falling. Learn about the features of safe shoes and identify clothing hazards.

Session 5 Bone Health, Medication, and Sleeping Better
Describe the importance of Vitamin D, sunlight, and calcium to protect from fall related injury. The guest pharmacy expert talks about medications that increase falls risk. Strategies to sleep better are discussed.

Session 6 Getting Out and About
Discuss and give participants the opportunity to see and try hip protectors. Explore different weather conditions that could lead to a fall. Review exercises. With the guest physical therapist, practice safe mobility techniques learned during the program in a nearby outdoor location.

Session 7 Review and Plan Ahead
Review and practice exercises, review personal accomplishments from the past seven weeks. Reflect on the scope of things learned. Review anything requested. Finish any segment not adequately completed. Time for farewells and closure.

Home Visit or Call
Leader completes a home visit or phone conversation within a few weeks after Session 7 to support follow-through of preventive strategies and assist with home modifications.

3-Month Booster Session: Group meets three months later to review progress and achievements and ways to encourage older adults to continue practicing the prevention strategies learned.

To find a workshop in your area go to Stepping On participants workshop schedule.  If there is not a current workshop occurring in your area please go to the Resource Map to find what organization in your area provides the workshops.  Call that organization and get on their waiting list to be notified of when the next workshop is being offered.