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Insights from a fallen older adult: Education is critical; stakeholders need to work together to fight for fall prevention.

Reflections that were written up from my interview with my aunt about how she sees fall prevention as an older adult and actually falling.

Photo of Sharifah Williams
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I interviewed my aunt. She is an older adult. Her age is 66  years old. She has also fallen before. Therefore, her story is really personal.

Some background information

The aunt interviewed for this challenge comes from my mother's side of the family. This aunt is older than my mom. My aunt is currently 66 years. She will turn 67 years old in 2 months' time. In addition, my aunt has fallen before. She broke her wrist as a result.

That is interesting to note. When we think of falls, we do not typically think of falling and breaking a wrist. We are more apt to think of breaking a hip, an ankle, or even a leg. Places like the wrist or the shoulder tend to not come to mind for some reason. Furthermore, my aunt has not let her fall stop her from retaining her independence. In fact, it made her more determined if more cautious to live her life.

Learnings: My aunt is an older adult that had a fall resulting in a broken wrist. Despite the fall, she continues to live life to the fullest in her old age if a bit more cautiously. 

Education:

Education is key in fight for fall prevention. My aunt had this suggestion. She suggested that libraries should hold classes on fall prevention which an older adult and a family member could attend. This way the younger person could explain to the older adult if he or she did not understand the class initially. Her suggestion really made sense in my mind. I have noticed that personally for my library in GA that we have classes/events for everything from business to knitting, but I have never noticed one on fall prevention.

Libraries

Libraries should do their part too. I understand that libraries seem an unlikely stakeholder. This old adage comes to mind. It takes a village to raise a child. This correlates to another adage which is once an adult, twice a child. Thus, I believe that libraries could serve as an important stakeholder in fight for fall prevention.

Family:

The library suggestion requires family. It does not have is have to be family but a companion should be required in order to absorb any knowledge potentially missed.

Learnings:

  • Education will be a significant enabling factor in the fight against falls.
  • Libraries are currently an untapped wellspring of potential and could be in the future a major stakeholder in the fight for fall prevention.
  • The library suggestion would need people to come in pairs so all the information gets taken in because two heads are better than one.

Stakeholders:

The stakeholders are many. One stakeholder is the library. That is an unlikely stakeholder. Other stakeholders are obvious. They are the doctors, hospitals, the government, older adults themselves, and more. All play various roles that impact fall prevention at different levels of intensity.

 Learnings: They are the doctors, hospitals, the government, older adults themselves, and more.

Factors:

Medical:

There should be a policy put into place. This policy would come into effect when an adult turns 60 to go see the doctor about classes to instruct and enable you about living life as an older adult.

Environment:

The environment also has its own role to play when it comes to fall prevention. For instance, the sidewalks need fixing. In addition, secured rugs or anything where there water to stop the elderly from slipping and sliding. Furthermore, the bathrooms should have rails put in, so that older adults can hold on to the rails and not fall.

Learnings: A policy should be implemented to educate older adults on fall prevention by when an adult turn 60 years old.

... and falling

My aunt noted that she fell before. In addition, she broke her wrist as a result of the fall. Therefore, she needed someone to take care of her. Ever since, she has been extremely careful, so that the accident would not be repeated again. 

Learnings: Falling can be tough and result in injuring. Healing requires the aid of another person, but healing can happen.

Overall learnings

  • Education is crucial for fall prevention. Libraries are a wellspring of untapped potential for educating people about fall prevention.
  • The stakeholders are plenty with everyone having differing stakes about fall prevention which makes identifying every stakeholder a complicated task such as realizing that libraries are a stakeholder.
  • The factors underlie fall prevention. For instance, the environment could use small fixes that would greatly impact fall prevention.
  • Falling can result in injury for an older adult, but healing is possible with the help of someone to provide care for you.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How can we give older adults their confidence back after falling so that they bounce back as if they were actually younger than they were? Why is education not better dispersed as it relates to fall prevention to the various stakeholders needed? Why are the little fixes not better implemented and updated so as to minimize the risks of falls?

Tell us about your work experience:

I am currently a student at NYU (Management of Technology) taking Design Thinking as an elective.

3 comments

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Photo of Segun Abiri

Hello Sharifah,

I too have posted a project idea within this BridgeBuilder Challenge.

It lives here on the OpenIDEO platform: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/education-for-all-adult-education-for-sustainable-development

The project title is 'Education for All: Necessary Inclusion of Adult Literacy for Sustainable Development' and we're an adult literacy focused Initiative with the mandate of providing free adult basic education for uneducated Nigerians.

Your project idea is very inspiring and perhaps there is a way that we can work together to benefit both of us and ultimately the people we want to help/work with on their journeys toward more knowledge, power, control and happiness in their lives.

However there are ways we can help each other out right now within this OpenIDEO challenge arena.

Are you aware that each of us here within the OpenIDEO can be become members of each other's teams?

It is not hard to do and it is a good thing to do so that you and I can each share with each other and show the community that we are working together in support of each other - since there are so many things we share in common as far as what we want our projects to do for our peoples.

I would be happy to become a team member with you in support of your project, if you would like to do the same with me.

Once we make that kind of connection then we can proceed ahead as the next few months unfold in support of each other and our projects.

It's a pleasure to meet you in this environment. It is good and challenging to be here reaching out around the globe to others in support of a better life and a better world for us all.

Enjoy your day!

Segun Abiri
Founder/Executive Officer,
Literacy for Adult and Education for Women Initiative (LADEWIN), Nigeria
ladewinnigeria@gmail.com
+2348064738240

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