Ellen Sogolow, PhD, Social Psychologist
I am a social psychologist, recently retired after working in public health since 1982. I was privileged to work at the University of North Carolina (UNC-Chapel Hill), State University of New York (SUNY-Brooklyn), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and, most recently, as a consultant on firefighter safety, health and wellness for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants, Research and Development program (FEMA/AFG/R&D).
I want you to know a bit about me, so you understand why I take this subject – falls prevention – so seriously. My aim is not only to inform you about what can be done to prevent older adult falls, but also to provide sufficient guidance and tools that you will be able to take action, improving your safety, health and wellness.
For the past several decades I worked closely with other scientists and health care providers to help develop evidence-based programs that improve safety and health. We saw many accomplishments. At this time most falls risks are related to general health and fitness, chronic conditions and medication use, and environmental challenges.
With PreventFalls.net, I want to have falls prevention conversations with you, my family, friends and neighbors. I want the focus to be guided by you – what are your falls concerns, what do you want to know more about? My aim is to support your living safely at home.
On the personal side, I grew up in New England, lived in New York City and then Atlanta (where CDC is located). When my mother, then aged 79, moved to Florida, I moved with her, both to support her and to enjoy on-the-coast living.
After about 12 years in Florida, mom was more fragile, and had a fall at age 91. As a result of falling, mom suffered from a broken wrist, nose, and many bruises. She endured extreme pain and was disoriented during the initial healing.
While in rehab, mom often thought she was back at work, doing her former job as a hospital-based occupational therapist. Fortunately, my mom was able to enjoy another year at home, albeit with lots of assistance. We had already made safety modifications to our home, and now we made more, thus I talk about before the fall and after the fall.
In developing this website, several factors came together for me: years of scientific study about what works to prevent injuries, the perspective of a social psychologist about what it takes to make significant behavioral changes, and the experience of a daughter who learned that the aftermath of a fall can be more miserable than I had ever imagined. PreventFalls.net was designed to help others avoid such experience, and to support living well longer at home.
Home Safety Foundation, Supporting Organization
Shira Siegel, MBA – Shira is a business coach and business consultant supporting several aspects of the development of PreventFalls.com including strategy and planning.