Falling Only for Science: promoting fall prevention science to older adults in Luxembourg


CALL: 2019


FIRST NAME: Alessandro Marco

LAST NAME: De Nunzio





START: 2020-01-01

END: 2020-12-31


Submitted Abstract

The increase in life expectancy is amongst the greatest achievements of modern society. Longer life expectancy carries, though, a social and economic challenge. As people grow older they are increasingly at risk of falling, with 20% of falls occurring every year in mid-aged adults (50-64 years old), 33% in the older than 65, and 50% in the older than 80. In fact, falls and fall-related injuries are a dramatic health problem and the second leading cause of disability worldwide (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/falls).As an expert in human motor control and measure to prevent falls together with a group of passionate young scientists, we aim at generating a positive impact on Luxembourg’s society organising two all-day-long events of scientific promotion in fall prevention.The events will address older adults (i.e. adults older than 50). The participants will: 1.Understand the objectives and the multidisciplinary research approach behind the development of fall prevention programs. 2.Understand how scientists translate research (evidence-based approaches) into practice (community-based approaches).3.Execute, via game-based engaging exercises (exergames), activities meant to prevent falls and possibly change counterproductive attitudes and behaviours of their daily life.Four “Interactive Stations” will address the above-reported aims presenting a specific field of fall prevention research each. Interactive Stations on Posture (station 1), Muscle strength (station 2) and Gait (station 3) will be organised.The fourth Interactive Station on “Safety in Public Mobility”, will consider the falls occurring on public transport e.g. buses. A “Welcoming Station” introducing the event, its scopes and all four Interactive Stations will guide participants at the beginning and at the end of their experience.Each Interactive Station will deliver a 30 min-lasting experience composed of three consecutive phases:1.A Lay introduction, which will last around 5 min will be provided to introduce the research conducted in the inherent field of the Station about fall prevention (e.g. balance control and improvement for the Station on Posture).2.A 15 min measuring phase will take place, during which the participants’ mobility will be measured with specific devices (e.g. inertial sensors at the Gait Station). During the measuring phase, the participants will understand the importance of measurements in research and how scientists translate the measured functions into numbers and then into (evidence-based) fall prevention approaches. The Station Moderators will interact with the audience showing how different factors (e.g. the way we stand in a bus) can increase their chance to fall and prompt discussions on adopting fall-preventing behaviours in daily life activities (community-based approaches). 3.A 10 min activity phase will be provided, during which the participants will execute a series of safe, simple and non-fatiguing exergames, to extend what they have learned during the measuring phase into effective fall prevention exercises, which are feasible to be conducted at their home setting.Enjoyment and satisfaction of the participants will be measured with relevant questionnaires. The acquired data will be used to plan future larger or more frequently occurring events.The positive impact of the events can be foreseen as leading the older Luxembourg population to:1.engage more with the scientific community and the research activities on fall prevention conducted in Luxembourg; 2.reduce their fall risk being more active at home or joining specific gym classes.As the local and national authorities will be invited to join the events, starting a discussion on the development of community-based fall prevention actions (e.g. specific gym classes) is foreseen as well.

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