Clinics intended to reduce chances of seniors falling

Seniors in Central Alberta can learn how to lower their chance of injury or worse due to a fall.

Seniors in Central Alberta can learn how to lower their chance of injury or worse due to a fall.

Seniors Resource Clinics, run by Alberta Health Services Central Zone, will hold 20 sessions throughout the region from Jan. 5 to 28 of the presentation — Who. . .me?! Fall?! Reduce Your Risk.

Seniors resource nurse Wendy Volkart said falling can mean the difference between independent living and long-term care for some seniors.

“A fall, a broken hip, and then their health just sort of spirals out of control and they end up not being able to return home,” Volkart said.

“Somehow we have to get the message out to our seniors that it could happen to them.”

Alberta statistics for 2006 show falls were the leading cause of injury for seniors.

“One out of every three seniors will fall at least once a year. And they say if you do fall once, you’re twice as likely to fall again.”

As the population ages, it could become a significant problem, Volkart said.

Changes in vision, inactivity, which reduces muscle tone and balance, and medications can contribute to falls. To prevent a spill, seniors should get regular eye exams and visit their doctor to discuss medications, keep physically active, reduce clutter at home, and maintain good foot care and footwear.

In the past, seniors have been reluctant to admit they’ve had a fall or shrug off a near-fall, but neither should be ignored. They can reduce a senior’s confidence, which cuts down on their activity and muscle tone, she said.

The first information sessions will be held in Red Deer on Tuesday at Waskasoo Towers at 10 a.m. and at Piper Creek Lodge at 1:45 p.m. Admission is free. Sessions will run about 45 minutes, with the opportunity to ask questions and meet individually with seniors resource staff.

For more information call Wendy Volkart at 403-309-8198 or Barb Hansen at 403-309-8197.

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