Since the beginning of 2015, The Agassiz Community Health Centre has focused community heath education on matters that concern seniors – including how to stay healthy in senior years, mental health and nutrition. In April, seniors will have the opportunity to meet, one-on-one, with a pharmacist, physiotherapist and kinesiologist to receive an individualized assessment and recommendations for improving health and preventing falls. The Fraser Health Falls Prevention Clinic will be held on Monday, April 13 at the Kent Community Recreation & Cultural Centre – 6660 Pioneer Avenue. The clinic is free but pre-registration is required. You can contact 604-796-8891 or visit the Centre to register for an appointment.
It might seem redundant to ask why seniors should be concerned about falls but the fact is that falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors and most of those occur in the home or surrounding area. One in three British Columbians over the age of 65 will fall once every year. In addition to injury, falling can cause loss of mobility and independence and is the sixth leading cause of death in seniors.
The good news is that the chances of falling can be prevented by making some changes in four areas of your life. 1.) Begin a regular exercise program. Exercise is important because it makes you stronger, feel better and improves balance and coordination. 2.) Have your doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist review all the medicines you take. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall. 3.) Have your vision checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. 4.) Make your home safer because about half of all falls happen at home. Among the many ways you can do this is to remove things you can trip over from stairs and places where you walk, remove small throw rugs or find a way to keep rugs from slipping, have “grab” bars installed next to the toilet and in the tub or shower, use non-slip mats in the tub or shower, put handrails and good lighting on all staircases, and avoid going barefoot both inside and outside the house.
Particularly when you live alone, you should come up with a plan to be shared with family and neighbours should you fall. Consider an emergency device or always have a portable phone at hand, especially if you fall often. Ask a family member, a neighbour, or a service provider to call you regularly and give your keys to someone you trust who could use them in an emergency. In short, think about what you can do to get help should you have a fall.
Having three professionals available to meet with you personally is an excellent way to explore the ways in which you can lower your chances of falling. The result is that if you take action to prevent a fall at home, you will increases your chances for living at home – safely and independently for many years.
– Agassiz Community Health Centre