Johnson County Livable Community
Information for Successful Aging

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Falls Prevention Team

Get Involved

Join our team! We generally meet once a month at the Visiting Nurse Association, 1524 Sycamore St., Iowa City. Meetings are on the first Tuesday of each month at 8:30am. To confirm meeting dates or for more information, contact the Chair Joyce Eland at 319-337-9686, ext.1129.

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While falls occur at all ages, the consequences for older adults are especially costly, including loss of independence and mobility. When a senior falls, the impact can extend to family members, employers, health care systems, and the community. Reducing the risk of falls calls for a community effort-everyone can do something to help prevent falls.

The need for a falls prevention effort was suggested to the Johnson County Livable Community Policy Board by Suellen Novotny, Executive Director of the Visiting Nurse Association of Johnson County. In response, JCLC volunteers formed a Falls Prevention Action Team. A subcommittee focused on options to form a collaborative coalition, develop a project plan, and secure funding. The Sure Steps Coalition grew out of this Action Team’s efforts. Sure Steps is a community-based falls prevention effort to inform Johnson County residents about the costs and risk factors associated with falls, and to encourage utilization of prevention steps and services available for seniors. In 2010, the Sure Steps coalition was awarded funding from the Wellmark Foundation for a two-year project to develop and implement a self-sustaining falls prevention effort in Johnson County. Read more about the Sure Steps falls prevention program.


The Falls Prevention Action Team continues to carry out the Sure Steps falls prevention outreach program in Johnson County through its volunteer members and the Johnson County service provider community. Falls Prevention is now a focus of state and national efforts. Sure Steps focuses on four key areas: Physical Activity, Medication Review, Vision Checks, and Home Safety.

Falls by the numbers

  • 1 out of 3 Iowans age 65 and older fall each year - that means that 3,737 Johnson County seniors will fall this year
  • Falls rank No. 1 as the cause of injury-related deaths among older Iowans
  • $25,000 is the average hospitalization cost after a fall for an older adult
  • $37,000 is the average cost of hospitalization and rehabilitation for a hip fracture
  • 83.7 percent of injury-related hospitalizations in Johnson County among people 65 and older are due to falls
  • The increased likelihood of being admitted to long-term care is four to five times higher after a fall for Iowans 75 and older