Shining Light on Fall Prevention
According to Health Canada, November 2017 is Fall Prevention Month. A serious matter, falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, responsible “for $2 billion in direct health care costs annually.” (http://fallpreventionmonth.ca/about) 1 in 3 older adults fall at least once a year.
Depression, mobility issues, loss of independence and death are potential dire consequences of a fall suffered by a senior. As seniors are the cornerstone of families and communities everywhere, Fall Prevention Month seeks to encourage Canadian organizations and individuals to unite and coordinate fall prevention efforts. Such initiatives are timely, as the information gathered by the 2016 census by Statistics Canada indicates that there are 5.9 million seniors in Canada, compared to 5.8 million children, age 0-14. This is the first time since Canada’s confederation that seniors outnumber youth. (‘Canadian seniors now outnumber children for 1st time, 2016 census shows’
In fact, according to the Fall Prevention Month website, “Over 1/3 of older adults will be admitted to long-term care after hospitalization for a fall” and, older adults are likely to require an additional 10 days of care in a hospital for a fall than for any other cause!
Falls in older adults are predictable and preventable.
The Government of Canada recommends the following tips in regards to preventing falls:
- Stop and smell the roses: take your time, don’t rush when walking or getting up
- Keep stairs and walkways free of clutter, ice or snow
- Use hand rails and grab bars to keep you steady on your feet
- Balance your body through good nutrition, hydration, and gentle stretching exercises
- Keep an eye on your vision and get your sight checked regularly
- Know what you are taking: talk to your pharmacist or doctor as some medications may make you prone to dizziness and falling
- Put your best foot forward in well-fitting, sturdy shoes
- Light up your life…and your hallways, stairs, and walkways!
- Check your home for slipping and tripping hazards
- Ask for help if you are worried about falling
As of September 2016, according to the Canadian Medical Association, “Nearly 3 in 10 Canadians are family caregivers; the number of seniors expected to need help or care will double in the next 30 years”
If you are a caregiver, ensure phones are within reach, chairs and beds are easy to get in and out of, unstable furniture is removed and tripping hazards and throw rugs are eliminated. You can also pad sharp edges with plastic bumpers, place coloured, non-slip strips along areas where floor levels change, and add handrails along staircases and hallways.
Regardless of age, it is important to keep active! With so many people working at their desks for many hours a day, there is evidence suggesting that ‘Too Much Sitting Ages You Faster’
Whether you are 18 or 98 years old, please speak to your physician and trusted healthcare professionals to develop an appropriate exercise and stretching regimen to maintain strength, balance and flexibility.
In case of injury, consider BioFlex Laser Therapy; it is effective, safe, drug-free, and non-invasive.
Laser Therapy for pain is effective, and BioFlex Laser Therapy (a form of Low Level Laser Therapy [LLLT], also known as ‘Cold Laser Therapy’ or ‘Phototherapy’) is approved by Health Canada, UL, CE and the FDA to treat many conditions, from sports and soft tissue injuries, to contusions and wound-healing. (*Please contact us for a list of approved indications for use, as applicable in your region.) BioFlex Laser Therapy promotes healing at the cellular level. It reduces inflammation and relieves pain.
The Partners for Fall Prevention Month 2017 are:
- Canadian Patient Safety Institute
- Fall Prevention Community of Practice
- Finding Balance Ontario
- Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
- Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
- Osteoporosis Canada
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Saskatoon Health Region
- Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
- Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network
If you are interested in learning more about Fall Prevention Month, please visit their website: http://fallpreventionmonth.ca, and follow us on social media.
Throughout the month of November, organizations are participating by planning activities and sharing evidence-based information on fall prevention.