Falls affect us all—whether personally or someone we love or care about.

NSGA - National Falls Prevention Action Guide 2017



Background:  The National Senior Games Association’s (NSGA) mission is to promote health and wellness for adults 50 and over through education, fitness and sport.  NSGA’s commitment was clearly showcased at the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Birmingham. At each of Games since 2011, Dr. Becca Jordre and the University of South Dakota, have provided screening, education and fitness training using the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE).  Its results remind us to address a major issue for aging citizens-falls prevention.  The SAFE study screenings show that only 10% of Senior Games athletes experience a fall.

However, falls continue to have a devastating impact on the general population of seniors as the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Seeing these results emphasize the importance for the NSGA to publicly advocate continued physical activity to help seniors maintain balance and avoid falls.


For the past 10 years, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has hosted National Falls Prevention Day on the first day of fall. Recently, the NSGA identified National Falls Prevention Day as an opportunity to collaborate with NSGA Member organizations in hosting falls prevention and balance training for senior games athletes and seniors in the community.

This year, on Thursday, September 22, 2017, the National Senior Games Association invites you to join us in observing Falls Prevention Awareness Day (#FPAD2017). In addition, the NSGA will emphasize balance skills throughout the 3rd week of September in collaboration with our partner Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health.

Good balance is essential to both preventing falls and athletic performance. Hosting a balance clinic for senior athletes and/or community dwelling seniors during the 3rd week of September allows you to make a visible and important contribution to reducing falls in your community.

Goal Statement:

Support the ability of Member organizations to engage the seniors in their communities, through the offering of falls prevention awareness, education and training activities listed in the NSGA National Falls Prevention Action Guide.

Action Guide:

The elements within the Action Guide outlines falls prevention activities focusing on balance enhancement for Senior Games athletes and non-athletes. The Action Guide includes 3 levels of programming:

  • Promote/Social Media
  • Screen/Assess
  • Educate/Train

Focus your efforts on one level or create a mix of program opportunities based on the 3 levels.


STEP 1: REVIEW the “what strategies will you use section” to assess how your organization can contribute to the Senior Games Movement to reduce falls.

STEP 2: IDENTIFY the most applicable and relevant methods of delivering your falls prevention message and outreach activities. Listed below are various options in the 3 levels of program implementation in support of National Falls Prevention Day.

STEP 3: IMPLEMENT your awareness, screening and education event(s).  The following examples listed under “What strategies will you use,” include resources and program ideas to help you plan a targeted program.

STEP 4: SHARE your success stories. Send them to:



Focus your efforts on one level or create a mix of program opportunities based on the 3 levels. Select strategies that will work for you and your organization.

A.  Promote/Social Media

  • Promote National Falls Prevention Day, by including infographics on your webpage and in social media. Please use the attached custom infographic, “Stay Independent: Prevent Falls.”  The collective use of this infographic will result in a strong and unified NSGA message.
  • Please watch for National Fall Prevention Day posts on NSGA Facebook and Twitter social media, and share the posts.
  • Raise awareness about falls prevention by having a short discussion based on this Go4Life® tip sheetPreventing Falls.
  • Show or ask your group to watch the“Tai Chi and Qi Gong”
  • Print out and distribute the “Check for Safety Brochure:” 
  • Print and distribute the “What You Can Do To Prevent Falls Brochure:”
  • Print out and distribute these other Go4Life® tip sheets:

Exercise to Improve Your Balance:

Fall Proofing Your Home:

  • Share Your Message: For example, social media, press releases, etc.
  • Use your local Member organization tagline if applicable.
  1. Screen/Assess
  2. Offer the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE) to senior athletes. The SAFE is a fitness screen designed to assess the health and fitness of senior athletes or high functioning seniors who maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Partner with a Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist, to offer the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE). Individuals screened can compare their results to the more than 2,000 senior athletes already tested in order to identify areas of risk where they may need to focus more attention or training. Research done with the SAFE indicates that a risk of falls can be determined via balance testing but is also detected in the way individuals perform on strength and flexibility measures.” Jordre has been conducting research since 2011. Contact Dr. Becca D Jordre at or 605.658.6370, for SAFE implementation guidance and resources.
  1. Offer the STEADI balance assessment to all seniors. The STEADI balance is designed for seniors living in the community.
  • Partner with a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Pharmacist, Gerontologist, Certified Health Education or Exercise Specialist to offer the STEADI balance assessment. The STEDI Toolkit includes basic information about falls, case studies, conversation starters, and standardized gait and balance assessment tests (with instructional videos).

In addition, there are educational handouts about fall prevention specifically designed for patients and their friends and family:

  1. Educate/Train

Partner with an organization or host an interactive education session, exercise activity, or balance sports clinic.  NSGA recommends the following.

  • Show an invited group the Go4Life® balance videoIn this video,  Go4Life® fitness instructor Sandy Magrath shows how to do 3 balance exercises - stand on one foot, heel-to-toe, and the balance walk: Equipment needed: a stable chair
  • Show an invited group the ACE Balance Training Exercises YouTube - Developing good balance is essential when you're training, and it positively impacts your everyday life as well. Join ACE Exercise Physiologist, Fabio Comana, as he explains the important role balance plays in enhancing your performance and how you can seamlessly integrate balance exercises into your workout:
  • Arrange for an ACE certified trainer to lead a sport fitness clinic covering core-exercises-to-improve-balance:
  • Ask a public health educator from your local health department, hospital or Area Agency on Aging to present a talk using the

Stay Independent Brochure:

  • Collaborate with your local YMCA, Area on Agency on Aging hospital, or health department, to host an Evidence-Base Falls Prevention Program such as, A Matter of Balance, Otago Exercise Program, Stepping On, and Tai Chi-Moving for Better Balance.

For additional ideas and questions, please contact Andrew Walker at awalker@nsga, phone 225 270-4322.


American Council on Exercise (ACE)


CDPH Chronic Disease Control Branch

The California Department of Public Health's Chronic Disease Prevention Messaging Toolkit 2014.

 National Council on Aging Falls Prevention (NCOA):

 STEADI Patient Materials: