Grantee: Sound Generations
Timeframe: October 2023 – September 2024 | Amount: $15,000
Summary: This project seeks to meet the demand for effective fall prevention program leader training and workshops from partner organizations serving older adults in King Co. communities who navigate the highest barriers to accessing prevention programming.
Sound Generation will use these funds to 1) build capacity for A Matter of Balance (MOB) program delivery by training workshop leaders from community-based organizations serving a high percentage of older adults who are black/African American, and 2) increase access to MOB workshops by offering sessions in collaboration with community partners serving older adults facing language, cultural, geographic, and/or income barriers across the region.
MOB classes reduce participants’ reliance on caregivers and increase their ability to live independent and productive lives. These classes are proven to improve physical function, decrease depression, protect against falls and fall injury, reduce medical care utilization costs, and decrease mortality rates.
MOB classes introduce education and exercise for sedentary elders in a supportive group where fear of falling is confronted and addressed. MOB workshops are designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults. Led by two trained volunteer leaders from the community, MOB workshops are offered in two-hour sessions, once a week, for eight weeks. Classes are typically offered in community settings such as senior centers, faith-based institutions, parks and recreation facilities, and healthcare settings, or remotely via videoconference. The content of each session teaches participants specific ways to mitigate fear of falling, prevent falls, and manage falls should they occur. MOB also acts as a bridge to the healthcare community. Session 7 includes a guest healthcare professional (PT/OT/RN) from their community, and the program highlights the importance of letting your healthcare provider know when you have fallen, the circumstances, and the frequency. This session often leads to organic conversations about not having a healthcare provider or not being happy about one’s current provider. This is a “favorite” session for many participants as they get to ask questions in a familiar setting that is more comfortable (for some) than a healthcare professional’s office. The average age of participants enrolling in MOB is 76 years, well into the age bracket of increased fall risk. Pre-program, 39% of participants report that fear of falling interfered with their daily social activity moderately to extremely. Confidence-building is at the core of the program.
MOB Master Trainer Deidre Daymon, who has lived experience and direct service work experience with the applicable community partner organizations, will oversee this project. Deidre is the only remaining MOB Trainer in King County and is integral to successful implementation and quality assurance. Funding to sustain current work ended in March 2023, when upstream federal funding ended. The recent increase in falls may be correlated in part with the current lack of fall-prevention classes in addition to the decrease in physical activity that many experienced due to COVID. More trained volunteers and support for fall-prevention classes is needed to reverse this trend and save lives, especially for those older adults who face the greatest barriers to healthcare and other services. While MOB has a remote option that was used when necessary during COVID, sites are requesting more in-person programming in an effort to rebuild capacity since the pandemic. In-person classes can offer greater opportunities to build relationships and include culturally accessible elements.
Funding through PHPDA will enable Sound Generations to build capacity for program delivery in King County as they apply for a multiyear federal fall prevention grant with co-applicant International Health Community Services. With PHPDA support, Sound Generations will offer 3 leader trainings and support 3 workshops in partnership with organizations providing programs to those with higher rates of health disparities including Southeast Seattle Senior Center, Central Area Senior Center, Northshore Senior Center and more.
MOB has been translated in 7 different languages as well as into versions accessible for those with Low Vision (12 & 20 point font.) Sound Generations will partner with organizations providing programs to those with higher rates of health disparities and work together to recruit community leaders who are part of the specific community being served by the workshop. Sound Generations understands that aligning behaviors with the values and beliefs people hold supports them in making health changes. Sound Generations recognizes the social determinants in larger society that influence our ability to live healthy lives. For this reason, it is important that MOB be accessible to all people not only because they value equity and inclusion, but also because it’s not possible to deliver health promotion programs effectively without understanding the identities and cultures of the people served. Sound Generations will work closely with the partner sites to make the workshop work best for the participants, which they know best. Factors discussed include time of the day, having before or after lunch, so participants can be included at community meal sites, having culturally appropriate healthy snacks, providing in person and/or material translation, having community leaders who represent the community and/or participants in the workshop. In this case, a majority of the additional workshops will be offered at community organizations who serve a high percentage of Black/African American elders. PHPDA funding will help Sound Generations better recruit and train volunteers from these communities, ensure they are offered a stipend for their time, and better reach those communities that face the greatest barriers to support.
About Our Grantee
Sound Generations partners with older adults to provide accessible and inclusive services so they can age their way.