Illini Fall Prevention Clinic

left to right is Doug Wajda (KCH), Ruth Franklin Sosnoff (college of Business), Jake Sosnoff (KCH) and Jason Fanning (KCH).

left to right is Doug Wajda (KCH), Ruth Franklin Sosnoff (college of Business), Jake Sosnoff (KCH) and Jason Fanning (KCH).

Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury and death among older Americans, with one in three individuals over the age of 65 and one in two over the age of 85 falling each year. Dr. Jacob Sosnoff of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health has long been studying balance issues in his Motor Control Research Laboratory, specializing in the assessment of fall risk in individuals with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. Armed with a wealth of knowledge and with the assistance of his graduate students, he is now offering a fall prevention clinic in the lab.

The Illini Fall Prevention Clinic uses state-of-the-art equipment and assessment information provided by clients to develop individualized prevention strategies that meet their specific needs. “Our trainers will work one-on-one with you during non-invasive, low-risk walking and balance tasks,” Dr. Sosnoff said.

In order to generate an accurate picture of individual needs, the clinic assesses walking, balance, reaction time, cognition, body awareness, and vision. Based on results, individuals receive specific training plans targeting their challenge areas. Clients are re-assessed after six months to determine how well the program is working, and to make revisions based on changes in the level of fall risk.

Over the last few months, more than 30 community members have been screened. Dr. Sosnoff and his team will offer off-site fall risk assessments at Clark Lindsey Village and are engaging with other retirement communities as well as organizations that serve older individuals. If you would like to schedule an assessment or learn more about the clinic, visit IlliniFallClinic.com. 

Dr. Sosnoff also mentored a team that developed a smart phone app to measure and monitor fall risk in older adults. Douglas Wajda and Jason Fanning, graduate students in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, and Ruth Franklin Sosnoff, a graduate student in the College of Business, received the AARP Innovation Award for the app, which also put them among the top 18 of more than 120 teams in the Cozad New Venture Competition.