Falls Prevention Month in Ontario provides an opportunity for different and divergent organizations to come together so as to increase awareness about the negative impact that falls can have on older adults, caregivers, and our healthcare system.
Falls resulting in injury create challenges that have far reaching impacts. Each day in Ontario, over 60 older adults are hospitalized due to falls. The nature of these injuries, combined with age, mean that these visits often result in longer than average hospital stays, which has a significant financial impact on our healthcare system. Moreover, with older adults, the long term effect of injuries from falls can significantly impair their quality of life and impact their families and caregivers. As such, finding solutions that can prevent falls in older adults is an important priority for all of us.
As part of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation’s (CC-ABHI) focus to help older adults age in a setting of their choice, we have chosen falls prevention as one of our primary theme areas for which we are targeting solutions within our funding programs. Through the launch of our Spark program as well as our Industry Innovation Partnership Program (i2p2), we are providing funding for innovative solutions that can prevent falls, or mitigate injury due to falls, in older adults with dementia.
While we seek innovative technologies to address this challenge, here are some very simple tips that can be implemented quickly to help reduce the risk of falls:
- Ensure a safe environment with good lighting, stairs with two secure rails and bathrooms with safety grab bars near the toilet and shower.
- Use proper footwear at all times; non-skid, rubber soled shoes are best.
- Review medications with side effects that may cause drowsiness or dizziness, including over-the-counter medications.
- Check eyeglasses for safety – tinted lenses that can decrease vision when moving from bright to dark places; note that bifocal lenses can impair vision when using stairs.
- Exercise to increase strength and balance.
More information on CC-ABHI’s various funding programs can be found by visiting our web page on innovation opportunities.
To learn more about Falls Prevention Month visit www.fallpreventionmonth.ca. This site provides a number of valuable resources including a toolkit for promoting Fall Prevention Month initiatives.