What is Stepping On?

Stepping On is a fun and interactive fall prevention program for adults aged 60 and older who have fallen or who have a fear of falling. The program has seven, two-hour long sessions that focus on helping participants recognize and change behaviors and take control of their fall risk.

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Stepping On is a high-level, evidence-based program proven to reduce falls and build confidence in older people. A community-based, small-group workshop, Stepping On was developed in Australia and tested in a randomized trial where it demonstrated a 31% reduction in falls. Wisconsin developed an American version of Stepping On with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has been tested in the United States and shown to achieve a 50% reduction in 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),

Trained leaders facilitate the Stepping On community workshops.

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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.

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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.

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Review and practice exercises, discuss when and how to advance your exercises, identify hazards in and about the home and problem-solving solutions.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Group meets three months later to review progress and achievements and ways to encourage older adults to continue practicing the prevention strategies learned.

For more information about Stepping On please visit the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging’s Stepping On.