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Falls Prevention Month

May 9, 2022

Written by,
Mobility Matters, a Canadian Rehabilitation company, providing Fall Prevention exercises
​ to SCHC’s Adult Day Program clients.

November is Falls Prevention Month!

The Facts

  • More than one-­‐third of Canada’s elderly population (ages 65 years and older) fall each year.
  • Nearly half of all injuries among seniors take place at home.
  • It’s estimated that 50 % of those who fall will suffer moderate to severe injuries such as sprains, hip fractures, or head traumas that permanently reduce their mobility and independence.
  • Seniors are more likely to be admitted to hospital from an injury as a result of a fall than any other age group.
  • Direct health care costs relating to falls among seniors in Canada are estimated at $1 billion every year.

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

More than 90 percent of incidents that result in injuries are predictable and preventable. Studies show that modifying the home and reducing hazards in the community can reduce the risk of falls by half. Impaired vision or mental functioning along with medications are other risk factors. A physiotherapist can help to evaluate the home environment to help prevent unnecessary accidents.

The risk of falling in older adults can be reduced dramatically when specific exercises, activities and interventions are prescribed by a physiotherapist. A targeted physiotherapy treatment program can help maintain or regain strength, flexibility and endurance in a way that still feels safe and secure.

Many seniors isolate themselves at home from a fear of falling. In so doing, they lose the physical benefits of normal activities and may compromise balance and muscle strength, putting themselves at an even greater risk of falling at home.

Physiotherapists can help! With their applied knowledge and understanding of the human body in action, physiotherapists are able to help you to increase mobility, relieve pain, build strength and improve balance and cardiovascular function. Physiotherapists not only treat injuries, but they also teach you how to prevent the onset of pain or injury that can limit your activity.

Tips for Reducing the Risk of Falling (from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association):

  1. Plant both feet securely on the ground before getting out of a car.
  2. Wear a good pair of walking shoes that will support your feet and provide necessary cushioning for your joints. Avoid high heels, slippers and open-­‐ toed sandals, which can cause you to trip.
  3. Use aids for walking, balancing, hearing and seeing. View these as sources of strength to help you to do things, not signs of weakness.
  4.  In winter, before taking the garbage to the curb, sprinkle kitty litter, an abrasive cleaner or salt and sand. It might also help to sprinkle some on the ground before getting out of the car.
  5. Make sure tips on canes and crutches are large and spiked for icy conditions, and that the walking aid is the correct height for you.
  6. Sit rather than stand while dressing.
  7. Before you get up out of a chair or up from bed, wait 10 seconds before rising to prevent dizziness.
  8. Install handrails and grab bars in bathrooms and stairways. Make sure stairways are well lit. Install a night light at the top of the stairs. Don’t leave clutter on the stairs that can cause a fall. Always keep one hand free when carrying things up and down the stairs so that you can hold on to the handrail.
  9. Concentrate on what you’re doing while you’re doing it, and move at a speed that feels comfortable.
  10. Immediately wipe up any spills, especially on ceramic floors.
  11. Keep a flashlight near the bed in case the power goes out.
  12. Avoid taking unnecessary risks like standing on furniture. Use a stepladder, or ask for assistance. Put everyday items on the bottom shelf.
  13. Avoid hyper-extending the neck. Extending the neck backwards can cut of circulation to the brain, casing a black-­‐out or even a stroke. When visiting the hairdresser, ask for an extra towel roll for the back of your neck.
  14. Manage medications properly. Some prescription and non-­‐prescription drugs can affect your balance and coordination. Avoid mixing alcohol and medications.
  15. Be mindful around pets. Feet can get caught in leashes, dogs can knock you down or you can trip over the sleeping or wandering pet.
  16. Remove reading glasses when walking.
  17. Try to be physically active every day to improve posture, muscle strength, balance and flexibility.
  18.  Have your vision and hearing checked regularly.​

Mobility Matters Falls Prevention Program Goals:

• Improve postural alignment
• Increase limits of stability
• Improve integration of sensory information
• Increase confidence
• Improve performance of activities of daily life
• Heighten awareness of risk factors and circumstances
• Improve walking ability
• Improve ability to recover from loss of balance

Mobility Matters Falls Prevention Program Benefits:

The Mobility Matters Falls Prevention Program meets the needs of unique individuals. Physiotherapists assess each resident, create an appropriate Falls Prevention treatment intervention and document outcomes.

The Mobility Matters Falls Prevention Program offers the following:

  • Flexibility. Participants engage in group activities that take into account their individual abilities so that the program is not too easy or too difficult for them.
  • Effectiveness. Based on the latest research, our professionals instruct residents regarding balance, flexibility and strengthening exercises that make a difference. And we have FUN!
  • Guidance. Safe and easy ways of performing the various balance and strengthening exercise components are demonstrated and helpful feedback is offered to residents.
  • Home Exercise Tips. Participants receive customized home exercise tips to enhance outcomes.
  • Results. Participants reduce their risk of falls through their committed participation!