For older adults, a fall can pose a serious health risk. Add in blindness or visual impairment, and the possibility of a fall increases. The approach of "it takes a village" can be applied to reducing the risk of a fall. Cross-disciplinary fall prevention programs that address multiple risk factors have been shown to be effective.

An article in the current issue of the journal Insight: Research and Practice in Visual Impairment and Blindness describes an integrated risk management program with multiple interventions. Interventions pertaining to 1) education, 2) medical assessment, 3) exercise and physical activity, and 4) home hazard assessment and modification have proven successful in reducing falls.

Another aspect essential to fall prevention is to strengthen collaboration across medical and rehabilitative services, public and private agencies, and providers who focus on issues of aging. Practitioners in various fields who are concerned with preventing falls among older adults need to be aware of issues related to medical, functional, and rehabilitative aspects of blindness and visual impairment as they pertain to fall prevention.

Falls are usually caused by more than one factor. For instance, poor vision can lead to decreased physical activity, which in turn brings about loss of strength in the limbs, thereby increasing the risk of a fall. Recognizing the many factors that contribute to a fall can aid in designing effective integrated interventions.

The American Geriatrics Society recommends that older adults with high risk factors of falling undergo a fall risk assessment. This assessment can identify unique factors associated with blindness and visual impairment in late life that could lead to a fall.

Among other things, a medical assessment intervention can identify relationships between vision and other health dimensions. While it is important to maintain physical activity, balance exercises specifically are more effective in preventing falls. Another part of these interventions is training visually impaired older adults to safely perform activities of daily living, and converting or adapting home environments to make everyday tasks easier while reducing accidents and supporting independent living.

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