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Young and Old Together Preventing Falls

Workforce enhancement via interprofessional education and integrated health service delivery to prevent falls.

Photo of Center for Active Living
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Our whole-person wellness programming offered at the UCCS HealthCircle Clinics is committed to helping older adults maintain a lifestyle that is of the highest quality attainable while concurrently preparing the future workforce with skills to understand, interact with and empower older adults. Through this unique, cross-generational and innovative approach, the HealthCircle Clinics provide a sustainable framework to connect the community and  provide services aimed at improving the quality of life with a focus on fall prevention. 

Students are exposed to new models of health service delivery and research to identify fall risk in older as well as middle aged adults, and understand multidisciplinary scopes of practice in order to form partnerships to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing of older adults. 

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

There is an urgent need to develop effective means for identifying fall risk and preventing falls to delay functional decline and disability, and preserve a sense of well-being and quality of life in middle age and older adults (Ferruci et al, 2004: Heikenin, 2006). There is also an urgent need to develop a workforce competent to engage in innovative and integrated care models.


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Photo of Bettina Fliegel

This looks like a great initiative! I like that the model addresses a full scope of issues - physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. It sounds very holistic. In what specific ways do the teens work with the seniors to enhance wellbeing?
Will the program be evaluated for effectiveness in terms of fall prevention?

Photo of Center for Active Living

Thanks, Bettina. The HealthCircle Clinics are a part of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and consist of five clinics, which provide hands on learning environments for students in various educational disciplines such as: nursing, health promotion, nutrition, strength and conditioning, gerontology, psychology, and gero-psychology. The HealthCircle Clinics are tailored to older adults in the Colorado Springs community; thus, each of the clinics provides a unique opportunity for students to work with the aging population in their respective field to increase physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. The services in combination with the intergenerational interactions help to enhance the wellbeing of the seniors.
With respect to fall prevention, each of the HealthCircle Clinics plays a role in reducing fall risk. However, the Center for Active Living, one of the five HealthCircle Clinics, has specific, evidence-based programs in place to help increase balance, mobility, gait, posture, awareness and proprioception of individuals to reduce fall risk. These programs are evaluated using validated measure and regular intervals of assessments depending on the program. The students are involved in both the delivery of classes and the data analysis.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi. Thanks for the information. Are you following the graduates who have trained in your clinics, from the disciplines that you mention, to see where they start their careers? Are they choosing to work with older adults? The multigenerational approach is great for the reasons you mention in your post. Would the experience be similar in other clinical settings serving adults where there are student trainees?

I checked your website. The services you offer look great as does the gym facility! Linking it here for others who might be interested.
The services offered at the Aging Center also look very comprehensive. The eight week "Coping With Care Giving" class sounds very useful. How does one find out about the class? Are the attendees a mix of ages and also a mix of caregiver types, those who might live in the home and others who are not? I recently learned that a significant number of caregivers are young, in the millennial age group. Are there young adults attending these classes?

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Center for Active Living!

Great to see you here! Thank you for telling us about your program. How long has it been running for? What training do the young adults receive? Also, what do you think of Intergenerational housing ?

I hope to see you in the ideas phase.

Photo of Center for Active Living

Hi Kate!

The HealthCircle Clinics at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs have been running for 3 years. The students come from various educational backgrounds including: nursing, health promotion, nutrition, strength and conditioning, gerontology, psychology, and gero-psychology. Students  apply for positions in the 5 clinics based on their field of study and then receive more specific training from the clinic/ program directors pertaining to their duties.

Intergenerational housing is an interesting concept. I can see the potential benefits and drawbacks as alluded to by the comments. Thanks for sharing!