Falls are the leading cause of injuries amongst older persons in Canada.
Our bodies naturally change with age and these changes affect the way we feel, move, and behave. A fall can have a devastating and lasting impact on a person, resulting in injury, chronic pain and a reduced quality of life. Even without an injury, a fall can cause an older adult to lose confidence and reduce their activities. The good news is that there are actions you can take to prevent falls.
Here we are providing tips and information to assess risk, prevent a fall, how to get up safely after a fall, falls and their connection to various issues such as vision, medication, chronic diseases, cognitive impairment and more.
Key strategies to prevent falls
These are the most effective steps you can take to prevent a fall, as assessed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Finding Balance, a program for older adults and caregivers created by the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta.
- Exercise: challenge your balance and build strength.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take your time: don’t rush when walking or getting up.
- Balance your body through good nutrition and hydration.
- Have your eyesight and hearing checked regularly.
- Manage your medications and review them regularly with your pharmacist or doctor as some may make you prone to dizziness.
- Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes.
- Consider using a cane or other mobility device if needed.
- Maintain proper use of eyeglasses and hearing aids.
In your home
- Make sure you have proper lighting in hallways, stairs, and walkways, as well as in the bedroom and bathroom.
- Keep stairs free of clutter and exterior stairs and walkways free of clutter, ice, or snow.
- Install handrails along stairs and safety grab bars in the bathroom.
- Check your home for slipping and tripping hazards and use non-slip mats or rugs.
- Ensure regularly used items are within reach.
Two of the components of our Living Strong program are physical health and living safely. You can download the FREE Living Strong toolkit here, as these are relevant to fall prevention: https://acaging.ca/living-strong/
Browse the Fall Prevention Month website for information, resources, and activities regarding fall prevention: https://www.fallpreventionmonth.ca/
Here are directions on what to do after a fall. Instructions IF you can get up, if you CANNOT get up, and if you are a witness to a fall: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/aging-seniors/publications/publications-general-public/what-after-a-fall-poster.html
Here is a collection of programs and initiatives across Canada relevant to preventing serious injuries from falls: https://parachute.ca/en/professional-resource/seniors-falls-collection/programs-and-initiatives/
Finding Balance is a seniors’ fall prevention initiative developed by the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta: https://findingbalancealberta.ca/