Falling is dangerous for seniors

The first week of November was B.C.’s Fall Prevention Awareness Week.

The first week of November was B.C.’s Fall Prevention Awareness Week, and Better at Home Cranbrook held workshops throughout the valley, including Invermere, to inform seniors of the risks and prevention of falls.

The workshop, which was held at Columbia Garden Village in Invermere on Monday, November 3rd taught local seniors about these common accidents. There were two parts to the workshop. The first dealt with safety in the home, which included checklists of potential dangers both inside and outside the home, and reviewed fire hazards, medication use and childproofing the home. The second was all about dealing with stress by identifying and handling sources of stress.

Both the BC Ministry of Health and Seniors BC have provided seniors with information on the causes and prevention of falls on their websites and are hoping to spread the campaign’s information to all seniors to prevent injury.

According to Seniors BC, one out of three people aged 65 and above experience at least one fall a year, usually due to combined factors. This means around 225,000 B.C. seniors are getting injured.

Key ways to prevent falls include improving your mobility and balance, increasing your physical activity and muscle strength, and reducing your trip and slip hazards in your home and outdoors.

Seniors BC has also narrowed down the factors that lead to falls in seniors into the categories of biological, behavioural, social/economic and environmental factors. Each increases the chance of injury in the senior community and can for the most part be prevented. The BC Ministry of Health has said about 85 per cent of all injuries that seniors sustain are due to falls, and falls cause more than 95 per cent of all hip fractures, which, in 20 per cent of fracture cases, leads to death within a year of the fall.

These accidents can often be prevented with proper knowledge. Seniors are encouraged to check out the BC Ministry of Health and Seniors BC websites to find more information on preventing falls at www.health.gov.bc.ca/prevention/fallbrochures.html  or www.SeniorsBC.ca.