Falls are the No. 1 reason for injury-related death, hospitalization and emergency department visits for older adults in Canada. Falls among older adults cost $5.6 billion in 2018 – nearly 20 per cent of the total cost of injury in Canada.
Our bodies naturally change with age and these changes affect the way we feel, move, and behave. A fall can have a devastating and lasting impact on a person, resulting in injury, chronic pain and a reduced quality of life. Even without an injury, a fall can cause an older adult to lose confidence and reduce their activities. The good news is that there are actions you can take to prevent falls.
Check out our resources section below to find information on how to assess risk, how to prevent a fall, how to get up safely after a fall, falls and their connection to various issues such as vision, medication, chronic diseases, cognitive impairment and more.
Key strategies to prevent falls
These are the most effective steps you can take to prevent a fall, as assessed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Finding Balance, a program for older adults and caregivers created by the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta.
- Exercise: challenge your balance and build strength.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take your time: don’t rush when walking or getting up.
- Balance your body through good nutrition and hydration.
- Get your sight and hearing checked regularly.
- Manage your medications and review them regularly with your pharmacist or doctor as some may make you prone to dizziness and falling.
- Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes.
- Consider using a cane or other mobility device if needed.
- Maintain proper use of eyeglasses and hearing aids.
In your home
- Make sure you have proper lighting in hallways, stairs and walkways, as well as in the bedroom and bathroom.
- Keep stairs free of clutter and exterior stairs and walkways free of clutter, ice or snow.
- Install hand rails along stairs and safety grab bars in the bathroom.
- Check your home for slipping and tripping hazards, and use non-slip mats or rugs.
- Ensure regularly used items are within reach.
Canada’s aging population
The proportion of Canadians aged 65 or older is projected to increase from 17.5% in 2019 to between 21.4% and 29.5% by 2068.Source: Statistics Canada
Fall prevention is critical as our Canadian population ages; without successful prevention strategies, we face a difficult and pressing issue of providing treatment and facilities to care for those who have been injured due to a fall.