As the Canadian population ages, injury and death from falls are on the rise. This National Senior Safety Week, November 6 to 12, the Canada Safety Council challenges all Canadians to commit to “take five to prevent falls.”
An estimated 20 to 30 per cent of seniors over 65 will suffer a fall this year. More than 95 per cent of all hip fractures in the elderly are due to falls, and 85 per cent of all injuries that send seniors to hospital are the result of falling.
With these easy steps, we can all reduce the likelihood and severity of a fall:
1. Check your home for tripping and slipping hazards.
2. Bone up on calcium and vitamin D. It’s easy to add a glass of milk or handful of almonds to your daily routine. Check out the Osteoporosis of Canada Calcium Calculator to find out if you’re getting enough. Osteoporosis and weakening bones increase your chances falls and fractures.
3. Check your medications. If you are on more than three medications a day, or take pills that could impair your balance such as sleeping pills, anti-depressants or blood pressure medications, have a discussion with your doctor about how to best reduce your chance of falling.
4. Get your eyes checked. Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, the Doctors of Optometry of Canada recommend that you have your vision checked at least once a year if you are over the age of 65, or every two years if you’re younger. Vision impairments are a leading cause of falls.
5. Exercise to keep strong. Why not try tai chi? This gentle strength-building exercise works your core balance and has been shown to reduce the risk of falling. The Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada says anyone can do tai chi — even if you use a wheelchair or are currently experiencing trouble with your balance.
We can all take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from preventable falls. Check back frequently at www.canadasafetycouncil.org for more activities and resources on falls prevention during National Senior Safety Week, November 6 to 12.