Falls are a leading cause of unintentional injury and death among older Canadians.
As the population ages, this issue is becoming more significant.
Public Health Agency of Canada shared report data earlier this year stating that the absolute number of fall-related hospitalizations rose by 47% between 2008-2009 and 2019-2020.
Falls can range from a simple slip to a serious injury. Many falls result in moderate to severe injuries, and some can even be fatal.
If you're taking care of an older adult and fall prevention is important to them, there are some things you can engage them to do to reduce the risk:
Regular exercise. Exercise can help improve strength, balance and flexibility.
Reducing stress by practising relaxation techniques. Stress can make it harder for the body to respond quickly when you trip or slip on something, which increases the risk of falling.
Eating a healthy diet low in fat and salt and high in vitamins C and E (found in fruits and vegetables).
What are the risk factors we should consider when trying to prevent injuries among seniors?
When we talk about major injuries caused by falls, the need for surgery is often the most severe outcome for non-fatal cases in our minds.
While it is true, the post-surgery period is just as essential since it will define whether seniors will be able to adapt to their old ways of living or new habits. Now, what do we do to prevent the elderly from facing those challenging outcomes?
Of course, the most optimistic scenario we should aim to achieve is helping the elderly eliminate fall risks. Safe home renovation is the first step in that journey, as we need to minimize dangerous external factors surrounding seniors in their daily life. Simultaneously, we must take care of internal factors such as body frailty caused by limited physical activity or chronic health conditions.
Last but not least, the job of caregivers is to provide additional monitoring and emergency response tools to help seniors feel safe while not being supervised 24/7.
I highly recommend reading the material below to evaluate the consequences our older relatives may experience when ignoring any of the above factors.