As November comes to a close, Alberta Health Services is reminding Albertans how to stay safe and healthy by preventing falls and other injuries.
November is Falls Prevention Month and falls are the leading cause of injury and can affect individuals across all age groups, leading to serious harm.
Most falls can be prevented. There are things you can do to prevent falls at any age:
For young children, many falls occur in the home. Stairs, windows, balconies and furniture such as beds or chairs are hazards for falls.
Use wall-mounted gates at the top and bottom of stairs
Actively watch children and ensure they are in safe environments
Use window guards or window stops and keep furniture away from windows
For all children:
Watch for playground hazards and use the Playground Safety YES Test
Have your child wear a certified helmet while skiing, snowboarding, skating or sledding and tobogganing to reduce the risk of head injuries.
For Older Adults:
One in three Albertans over age 65 will fall at least once a year. While the risk of falls increases as people age, falls are not a normal part of aging. Here are a few ways to prevent falls:
Keep Active to maintain strength and balance. Regular physical activity can help prevent injury and enhance independence, improving your overall quality of life. Specifically,
Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning a new physical activity.
Do activities that challenge strength, balance, endurance and flexibility.
Use supportive footwear. View The Ideal Shoe For Seniors’ Falls Prevention poster.
Consider staying active with a friend/exercise partner for safety and socialization
Watch for ice and slippery surfaces during colder weather. Getting Around In Your Community – Finding Balance
Check Your Vision and ensure you have a complete annual eye exam.
Allow your eyes time to adjust to light. Pay attention to surroundings to help prevent falls.
Changes to your vision may increase your risk of falling. Alberta Health covers the cost of an annual eye exam for adults aged 65 and older. Some older adults may also be eligible for compensation for prescription eyeglasses.
Review Your Medications annually with your doctor or pharmacist.
Ask questions about side effects, interactions, and proper dosing when you start a new medication.
Some medications can increase the risk of falling Review Your Medications.
Keep a Master List of Medicines at home and with you when you go out.
Speak with your doctor if you experience dizziness.
Reduce falls in the home
Keep floors and pathways clear of furniture, cords and clutter.
Use non-slip mats on slippery surfaces like bathroom floors, kitchens and entryways.
Remove items you can trip over.
Move furniture and electrical cords out of walking paths.
Keep your home well-lit.
If you use a cane, replace the rubber tip when it becomes worn.
Ensure you have sturdy handrails along stairways.
Check-in with your loved ones who may experience physical limitations as they age. Help clear away snow and ice along driveways to prevent falls outside the home.
If you fall or are hurt, getting the appropriate care you need is important. People with serious injuries should visit their nearest emergency department or call 911 for potentially life-threatening conditions. Visit ahs.ca/options for more info.