The federal government this week contributed $250,000 to a group that works in preventing senior citizens from falling, an issue that increases in significance as the population ages.

Guylaine Malette-Robichaud is a public health nurse with the Porcupine Health Unit, and its lead for the Stay on Your Feet Strategy.

“Twenty-five percent of falls experienced by the older adults will result in serious injuries and hospitalization,” she says, “ and about 20% of the older adults who had a serious fall and injury will die within one year after sustaining the injury.”

Malette-Robichaud adds that one third of people over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year.  That climbs to one half once they reach the age of 80.

“The best way to prevent a fall is to be physically active,” Malette-Robichaud says. “ So we encourage everyone to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week.”

Malette-Robichaud says physical fitness maintains the ability to balance.  She adds that the health unit tries to ensure that free exercise classes are available to seniors in all the communities it serves.

Photo credit: Public Health Agency of Canada

HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF SENIORS FALLING

  • Exercise at least 150 minutes per week
  • See your doctor if you’re not feeling well
  • Review medications with your pharmacist and/or doctor every 6-12 months, to ensure you’re taking them properly
  • Eat properly to stay strong and healthy
  • Reduce potential tripping hazards in the home, i.e. area rugs, electrical cords.

Source: Guylaine Malette-Robichaud, Porcupine Health Unit