Seniors’ Week runs from June 6-12 and Alberta Health Services (AHS) says it’s an opportunity for seniors to learn how seniors can stay safe, healthy and independent by doing promotion of healthy activities to reduce falls.
Falls are the leading cause of injury in older people and can have life-threatening effects that can lead to reduced independence. In 2020, falls among people aged 65 and older in Alberta resulted in more than 34,000 visits to an emergency department or urgent care center and more than 11,000 hospitalizations.
Although the risk of falls increases as people age, falls are not considered a normal part of aging and there are steps that can be taken to help seniors avoid falls:
Stay active to maintain your strength and balance
Regular physical activity can help prevent injury and build independence, improving overall quality of life.
- Activities that test strength, balance, endurance and flexibility.
- For those with limitations, discuss strategies for staying active with limited mobility. on MyHealth.Alberta.ca.
- Use supportive shoes. Check out the Perfect Footwear for Elderly Falls Prevention poster at FindingBalanceAlberta.ca.
- Consider staying active with a friend/exercise partner for safety and socialization.
- Prevent heat-related illnesses by protecting yourself from the sun and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Avoid strenuous activities during hot, humid hours of the day. Find more information about preventing heat-related illnesses at MyHealth.Alberta.ca.
- Talk to a health care provider before starting any new physical activity.
Check your vision and make sure you get a comprehensive annual eye exam
- Give the eyes time to adjust to the light and pay attention to the surroundings to avoid drops.
- Changes in vision can increase the risk of falling. Alberta Health Care covers the cost of an annual eye exam for adults age 65 and older. Some seniors may also be eligible for limited reimbursement for prescription glasses.
Review your medications annually with a doctor or pharmacist
- Ask about side effects, interactions, and proper dosage when starting a new medication. New Drugs: Questions to Ask the Doctor on MyHealth.Alberta.ca.
- Certain medications can increase the risk of falling.
- Review your medications and keep a master medication list at home and with you when you go out.
- Talk to your doctor if you feel dizzy and learn more about managing blood pressure by visiting Managing Your Blood Pressure on MyHealth.Alberta.ca.
Reduce falls at home
- Keep floors and aisles free of furniture, cables and clutter.
- Remove objects you can trip over.
- Keep furniture and electrical cords away from walkways.
- Keep your home well lit.
- Remove rugs and doormats. Use non-slip mats on slippery surfaces like bathroom floors and entryways.
- If using a cane, replace the rubber tip when worn.
- Make sure you have strong handrails along the stairs.