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New resources aim to help seniors prevent falls
The provincial government has unveiled a suite of multimedia training resources to help physicians and other health professionals educate seniors in ways to prevent falls and stay healthy.
Falls result in serious consequences to older people and cost the B.C. health care system approximately $155 million annually. In 2010, more than 12,000 seniors were hospitalized for a fall-related injury in B.C. and there were 940 deaths due to falls in 2009.
One out of three seniors aged 65 and over typically fall once or more each year.
Those who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again. And 95 per cent of all hip fractures among seniors are due to a fall, while seniors with fall-related injuries tend to stay in hospital twice as long as seniors hospitalized for all other reasons.
A history of prior falls, decreased muscle strength and poor balance are most strongly associated with an increased risk of falling among seniors.
Evidence shows that many of these falls and injuries can be predicted and prevented.
“As a doctor, I see first-hand the damaging and sometimes fatal effects that falls can have on seniors,” said Margaret MacDiarmid, the province’s parliamentary secretary for seniors.
“This fall prevention campaign will provide important information on how to prevent a fall and let seniors remain independent.”
The fall prevention multimedia package includes a video as well as written resources aimed at engaging both seniors and doctors.
The video highlights some of the ways to reduce fall risks, common health conditions related to falls and practical assessment tools.
The resources offer safe and easy-to-follow exercises, recommendations for good sleep habits and ways to make a senior’s home safer to reduce falls.
The home activity handout includes seven seated and standing exercises seniors can do to help stay healthy and prevent a fall.
When done routinely and progressively, these simple exercises are effective to increase strength and improve balance.
For more information about falls prevention, visit www.SeniorsBC.ca/stayingindependent.