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Two toolkits are out to help senior living providers and others address some of the biggest threats to older adult health and wellness: influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, COVID-19 and falls.

The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living this past week released a 2023 #GetVaccinated Toolkit, with resources to help providers promote and facilitate critical vaccinations among residents and staff members this fall and winter. 

“Long-term care providers are making every effort to encourage residents and staff to roll up their sleeves,” AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson said in the association announcement, which noted the importance of vaccinations, especially against COVID-19, the flu and RSV, which are commonly spread in the cold-weather months, when people spend more time inside.

“Older adults and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from these viruses,” AHCA/NCAL noted. “Vaccination remains one of the most effective, safest ways to build immunity and prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death.”

The toolkit includes:

  • A checklist for providers with suggested best practices to prepare for fall vaccination season;
  • Poster graphics to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated;
  • Social media posts and graphics;
  • Templates for letters to residents and family members; and
  • Resources about recommended vaccines for residents and staff members, how to document vaccinations, answers to frequently asked questions and more.

Meanwhile, the National Council on Aging and the Falls Free Initiative, in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living, have released the 2023 Falls Prevention Awareness Week Toolkit. This year, Falls Prevention Awareness Week starts today and lasts through Friday, and this year’s theme is “From Awareness to Action.”

“Falls have been the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults, leading to serious injuries and increased risk of additional falls,” according to the NCOA.

The council notes that, according to the CDC, more than one-fourth of Americans aged 65 or more years fall each year. Falls result in more than 3 million injuries, such as hip fractures, broken bones and brain injuries, treated in emergency departments annually, including more than 800,000 hospitalizations, according to the CDC.

The Falls Prevention Awareness Week resources include articles and infographics that can be printed out, social media messages and graphics,  logos, banners and more.At the end of the observance, users are invited to share success stories of their falls prevention efforts for an impact report. A survey allows people to provide feedback on the toolkit and its resources by Oct. 31.

Lois A. Bowers is the editor of McKnight’s Senior Living. Read her other columns here.

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