Falls are serious – but can be prevented

Falls happen every day, across all age groups.

Falls happen every day, across all age groups.

For children and youth, it might be a fall off playground equipment or a bicycle. For adults, it might be a fall off a ladder or slipping on the floor at work. For older adults, most falls occur in the home. Falls can have devastating effects:

· They are the number one cause of injury-related deaths, hospital stays, visits to the emergency room and the most common cause of permanent disability for children, adults, and seniors.

· Falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths and hospitalizations for B.C. seniors. In fact, within B.C. an average of 557 seniors die each year from falls.

· For youth, falls are second only to car and bike crashes. On average in B.C., 13,397 seniors (aged 65 and older) are hospitalized each year —that’s 37 hospitalizations a day. Women over 65 are the highest risk group, with almost double the rates of deaths, hospital stays, visits to the emergency room and permanent partial disability than older men. This may be due to the fact that women have less muscle mass than men and weaker bones, making them more likely to fall and break a bone.

The good news is there are many things that can be done to prevent falls.

The number one reason why seniors fall is that their muscles become weak due to inactivity. While you should always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program, the best advice for all ages is to get active, and include strength and balance training in your routines. For example, Tai Chi has been shown to be effective at preventing falls in seniors. Many community recreation centres now offer strength and balance classes designed for older participants or those with health issues.

Taking more than five medications also increases the risk of falling, as many medications have dizziness or drowsiness as a side effect. Sleeping pills should be avoided, if possible. It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications you take and to make sure you take your medications as directed. If you think your medications are making you dizzy and might cause you to fall, be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist right away. Don’t stop taking your medication without speaking with your doctor first. Be especially careful when you are starting a new medication as the side effects may be worse at the beginning.

Other tips to prevent falls:

· Reduce clutter inside your home, especially on the floors. · Make sure all outdoor pathways and stairs are well lit and free of ice, snow, and leaves.

· Avoid using ladders or step stools. Move things down to where you can reach them and/or ask a neighbour, family member or friend for assistance.

· Use handrails and remove your reading glasses when going up and down stairs.

· Wear comfortable low-heeled shoes that provide good support. · Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water – poor nutrition and dehydration can cause dizziness.

· Avoid rushing and “multi-tasking”. Be more mindful of where you put your feet and stay alert to your surroundings when you are walking, especially on stairs.

· Have your vision checked each year. Wear your glasses and hearing aids.

· Consider using a walker or cane to help with getting around. Talk to a Community Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist first to make sure you buy the right walking aid for you.

Nov 6-12 is Falls Prevention Week. For more information about fall and injury prevention, visit the fall prevention site www.findingbalancebc.ca and the Your Health section at www.interiorhealth.ca.

Kelly Wilson is Interior Health Quality Consultant, Falls, and Injury Prevention

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Kaslo councillor admits to ‘baiting’ member of public in email exchange

Kaslo Village Council to consider adopting code of conduct

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

Students/staff evacuate Rossland Summit School due to smell of smoke

SD20 says students in different learning groups didn’t come in contact with each other in evacuation

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Most Read