MESA, Ariz. (Jan. 14, 2009) – Phoenix seniors are benefitting from a partnership between A.T. Still University (ATSU) and the city of Phoenix that has recently brought falls prevention training to elderly citizens in senior centers across the Valley.
Students in ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS) occupational therapy, physical therapy, audiology and physician assistant programs have been trained as volunteer lay leaders in the falls prevention program, “A Matter of Balance,” which is designed to reduce program participants’ fears of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.
Training was conducted by ASHS Assistant Professor Jeffrey Alexander, Ph.D., who has been designated a master trainer in the falls prevention program. On January 9, ATSU’s volunteer lay leaders began traveling in pairs to approximately 15 locations across the city of Phoenix to deliver the falls prevention program. The city anticipates the eight-week course will reach more than 150 citizens. Attendees will meet for one two-hour session per week.
According to Elton Bordenave, M.Ed., CHC, physical therapy faculty member and facilitator of the falls prevention program at ATSU, results have so far exceeded their expectations in all areas. “We have more people signed up for the program than we expected,” he said. “In addition, our students are getting more and better experience than we ever could have hoped for. Everything is going very well – for the seniors as well as the students.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with ATSU to bring falls prevention education to seniors in Phoenix,” said Riann Balch, city of Phoenix Human Services Department program coordinator.“There are so many simple things we can do to prevent falls that make such a big difference. We are grateful to have the volunteer lay leaders from ATSU; we could not reach this many people without them.”
In 2003, the ATSU Board of Directors initiated a University Geriatric Initiative in light of growing healthcare challenges in an aging society. The falls prevention program is one of many outreach programs the University has in place to increase the quality of life, health, and wellness for seniors while promoting student healthcare education.
“This is a wonderful partnership for ATSU and the city of Phoenix,” said ATSU President Jack Magruder, Ed.D. “Our University is dedicated to educating competent healthcare professionals and we want our students to be leaders in community health. Helping to improve the health of the elderly is one more way ATSU fulfills its mission to its students and to the communities in which we live.”