National conference on fall prevention to support older persons being held in Toronto

Conference to share prevention ideas and help reduce 1 in 3 Canadian seniors from falling

TORONTO, May 27, 2014 – Canadian and global leaders, who work with older people in the fields of medicine, research and social needs, are in Toronto this week at Watch Your Step, the 2014 National Fall Prevention Conference. Taking place at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, May 27 - 28, more than 400 participants, including researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the field of seniors’ health and injury prevention, from across the country and around the world are coming together to exchange, develop and share strategies and best practices for helping prevent falls and injuries amongst older adults in every community across Canada.

In 2004, the direct cost for fall-related injuries for Canadians aged 65 and over was $2 billion - these costs are increasing rapidly due to our aging population which is expected to grown from 4.2 million in 2005 to 9.8 million in 2036. Approximately one third of all seniors fall at least once each year, which means the estimated 3.3 billion seniors will fall at least once in 2036.

“These numbers post a staggering economic burden on our economy,” says Louise Logan, Parachute’s President and CEO. “Our seniors deserve our full attention and support.  Prevention, knowledge and awareness are key.  Discussions like the ones taking place at Watch Your Step will ensure we are able to identify necessary approaches and create essential building blocks to further develop and enhance our support strategies for elders, not only in Canada but throughout the world.”

Watch Your Step is a follow-up to the first national Fall Prevention Conference held in Vancouver in 2010.  This year’s conference, co-hosted by Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre located at Parachute, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, follows from the dialogue and review of research and expertise in the area of fall and injury prevention among older adults. 

The event, being opened by Dr. Marla Shapiro, also includes keynote presenters Dr. Dean Fixsen, Senior Scientist at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Stephen Robinovitch, Professor, Simon Fraser University Injury Prevention and Mobility Laboratory Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors and Dr. Stephen Lord, Senior Principal Research Fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia in Sydney.

On May 27, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) will give conference delegates the opportunity to see first-hand how people can overcome the challenges of disabling injury, illness or age-related health conditions to live active, healthier and more independent lives.

“We are privileged to have a roster of presenters who are recognized, nationally and internationally, for their work as developers of cohesive strategies which are contributing to the implementation of best practices for the prevention of seniors’ fall,” adds Dr. Vicky Scott, Conference Co-Chair and Senior Advisor, Fall and Injury Prevention, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit and Ministry of Health.

“We have more than 40 insightful and thought provoking presentations and symposiums taking place at Watch Your Step,” says Linda Yessen Conference Co-Chair and Manager, Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre at Parachute.  “Included this year are sessions on How Effective Exercise Programs Help Prevent Falls, The Vital Role Our Physical Environment Plays in Fall Prevention, Risk Factors and Assessment in Fall Prevention, An In-depth Look at Fall Prevention in Community Settings and The Challenge of Preventing Falls in Hospital and Residential Care Settings.”

The complete Watch Your Step program and speakers’ list can be viewed at Watch Your Step is made possible through the generous support of many partners including Shoppers Home Health Care, Osteoporosis Canada, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Ontario Falls Prevention Community of Practice, Public Health Ontario, Canadian Red Cross, Philips Lifeline, Accreditation Canada, Seniors for Seniors and VON Canada.

Parachute is dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. A national charity, Parachute officially formed in July 2012, when the former Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada joined together to become one leader in injury prevention. Parachute’s injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy, and social awareness efforts are designed to help keep Canadians safe. Parachute’s vision is an injury-free Canada with Canadians living long lives to the fullest. For information, visit us at, follow us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.

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For information:

George James
647 776-5125 (w)
416 402-3783 (c)