Falls Prevention

The Northern Virginia Falls Prevention Alliance

In August 2016, Marymount University, in partnership with Goodwin House, Inc. was awarded a two-year grant from the Administration for Community Living. This grant serves to increase the availability and accessibility of evidence-based falls prevention programs across Northern Virginia and create a regionally integrated infrastructure to implement, expand, and sustain these programs.

Goodwin House and Marymount University are the founding partners of the Northern Virginia Falls Prevention Alliance (NVFPA) 

The NVFPA is an alliance of public and private agencies and organizations dedicated to promoting programs and strategies that decrease falls and falls-related injuries in older adults and at-risk individuals across the region.

NCOA Fall Statistics

According to the National Council on Aging:

  • 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls each year
  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall
  • Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall
  • In 2013, the total cost of fall injuries was $34 billion
  • This total cost may reach $67.7 billion by 2020

Even falls without injuries can cause fear of falling, leading to physical decline, depression and social isolation. However, falling is not an inevitable part of aging. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be reduced substantially.

The Mission of The Alliance

The mission of the NVFPA is to assure availability of, access to, and utilization of a coordinated and comprehensive system of community-based programs and practices aimed at reducing risk for falls and fall-related injuries in older adults thus maximizing independence and improving quality of life.


The Evidence-Based Falls Prevention Programs


What is A Matter of Balance?

A Matter of Balance is an award-winning structured group workshop that emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels.

It is designed to increase activity levels among older adults in the community.  The workshop consists of both balance and strength training exercises as well as a social component.

Who Does A Matter of Balance Benefit?

A Matter of Balance benefits older adults who are concerned about falls or have sustained a fall in the past. It is also for those interested in improving flexibility, balance and strength – especially those who may restrict activities because of concerns about falling.

A Matter of Balance Program Objectives

The objectives of the workshop are to enable participants to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals for increasing activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors and promote exercise to increase strength and balance.

A Matter of Balance Program Outcomes

Six months after taking the 8-week program 98% would recommend A Matter of Balance. There is an improvement in falls efficacy with 97% of participants more comfortable talking about fear of falling. There is also an improvement in falls management and falls control – with 97% of participants feeling more comfortable with increased activity and 99% planning to continue exercising.


The SAIL program is a strength, balance, and fitness program for older adults. Classes are specifically designed to improve balance and mobility; reducing the risk of falls and improving quality of life.

About the SAIL Class

The SAIL class consists of one hour of exercise, two times a week. Classes are taught by a qualified SAIL leader. Exercises are adapted for all levels of physical ability and are specifically designed to help maintain and improve balance. Classes also include education about reducing fall risk.

SAIL Program Outcomes

12 months after taking the SAIL program 93% reported improved performance of daily activities, 92% reported improved strength, balance, fitness and flexibility.

Continuous Program Implementation

Along with dozens of communities and organizations in and around Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria counties, Goodwin House has trained staff members through Marymount’s Regional Training Office in both A Matter of Balance and SAIL programs.

The Partnership with Marymount University ensures that the Northern Virginia Falls Prevention Alliance can reach out to the Northern Virginia community and continually implement several falls prevention programs every month.

For more information, please visit the website.