Preventing Falls

Preventing Falls

If you are reading this, congratulations! You are doing one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and independent as you age, or to help a loved one do so: you’re learning how to prevent falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent falls and to make them less harmful when they happen. Statistics on fall prevention programs show they decrease falls by up to 55%

Taking a program is only one of many actions you can take. Read on for quick tips and links to trustworthy sources of information and support.

Things You Should Know About Preventing Falls

Fall prevention is about more than railings and grab bars.

Fall prevention works best as a holistic, long-term approach. It involves many parts of our lives, from what we eat to how we spend our free time. In some cases, people have medical conditions (like postural hypotension or a vestibular condition) that need medical treatment. In other cases, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, eye doctor, or other health care provider provides the best support.

The best time to learn about fall prevention is before you have a fall.

Of course, a fall is a clear signal that you should take action. A previous fall is the #1 indicator of fall risk. But ideally, fall prevention is, well, prevention. Read on for tips and resources.

If an older person is injured in a fall, they can fully recover.

By taking the steps suggested on this page and working with health care providers after a fall, you can bounce back. Putting in this effort can be life changing. Many people who fall become afraid of falling again and cut down on their everyday activities. Then, because they are less active, they become weaker, and this increases their chances of falling.

10 Ways to Prevent Falls

If you Fall or Witness a Fall

Everyone should know what to do if they fall or witness a fall. The response will be different depending on whether the person can get up or not.

Caregivers and family members should know how to assess the situation, safely help someone up if that’s appropriate, and provide care. Older adults should practice getting up safely so that they can manage more easily if a fall happens.

As well, you will have decisions to make after a fall: call 911, have someone drive you to emergency, make a doctor’s appointment, or wait and see. You’ll want to consider the psychological impacts as well as physical ones, and of course, think about preventing falls in the future.

Learn more with this illustrated info-sheet on preventing and responding to falls from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Falls by the Numbers

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians
Falls are associated with over 1/3 of admissions to long-term care facilities after leaving the hospital
0
Estimated financial cost 9n billions of seniors’ injury in Canada per year
1
Percentage rise of Injuries due to falls between 2003 and 2008
0%
Percentage rise is deaths due to falls between 2003 and 2008

Resources

HealthLinkBC: Preventing Falls

Clear information and links to more resources.

The Safe Living Guide—A Guide to Home Safety for Seniors Read the website or order the booklet to get more in-depth advice on making your home safe, healthy eating, activity, medication, safety aids, and more.

Avoiding Falls A comprehensive collection of information and further resources from the Canadian Frailty Network.

Finding Balance is an organization devoted to preventing falls. Their website is full of videos, factsheets, activity programs, and more.

This will connect you to HealthLinkBC’s health service navigators. They can

  • Answer basic health care questions
  • Help you find your way around the health care system
  • Connect with a registered nurse, registered dietitian, qualified exercise professional, or pharmacist

Call 8-1-1 (7-1-1 for the deaf and hard of hearing)

Health advice and information

24 hours a day, seven days a week

Translation services are available in over 130 languages

For non-emergency situations only

You CAN Prevent Falls A brief but complete online pamphlet covering the basics, including tips how to make your home safer.

Guide to assistive devices  Four pages provide the info you need on gadgets such as walkers, canes, home equipment such as shower seats, grab bars, easy grip utensils for cooking and eating, loud-ring telephones, and more.

The Safe Living Guide—A Guide to Home Safety for Seniors Read the website or order the booklet to get more in-depth advice on making your home safe, healthy eating, activity, medication, safety aids, and more.

Osteofit and Get Up and Go classes Fall prevention classes offered in various community and recreation centres in B.C.

Find out about programs to help fund assistive devices like walking aids and home equipment

Take this quick 10-question quiz to assess your risk of falling.