Slips, Trips and Falls

Facts about falls

  • While falls can happen to anyone, they are common in older adults and the effects can be more serious
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths among older adults in Waterloo Region
  • In 2018, an average of three older adults in Waterloo Region were hospitalized each day due to a fall
  • Falling is not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented
  • Everyone has a role to play in preventing falls including older adults, caregivers, family members, and friends

Tips to prevent falls

Use these tips to avoid a fall and to maintain your independence.

Eat a variety of healthy foods each day
 Good nutrition will help maintain your strength, co-ordination and mobility.
  • Make healthy food and beverage choices by following Canada's Food Guide
    • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods
    • Choose protein foods that come from plants more often
    • Limit highly processed foods
    • Make water your drink of choice; limit sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Do not skip meals; it can make you weak and dizzy, which will increase your risk of falling
    • If you have a smaller appetite, try eating smaller portions and include healthy snacks between meals
  • Health Canada recommends that individuals over 50 years of age take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU
  • After 70 years of age, the body needs more calcium and vitamin D. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need a calcium supplement or more than 400 IU of vitamin D

For more information, visit www.unlockfood.ca

Exercise daily
 Regular exercise builds strength and improves balance.
  • Build exercise into your daily routine
  • Set a daily walking goal by
    • Taking a brisk walk around the block
    • Going for a hike on the trails
    • Walking your dog in the evening
    • Taking up a dance class with a friend
    • Joining a local exercise class
    • Borrowing a pedometer kit from your local library in WaterlooKitchenerCambridge or Region of Waterloo

To learn how you can be safe this winter and keep active all year long check the Winter Walking poster, and watch the Walk like a Penguin video. 

For more information, visit the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65 years and older)

Make your home safer
 Half of the falls causing hospital stays happen at home.
Understand your risk of falls
Know what factors might be increasing your risk of falls. Use the Am I at Risk of Falling checklist to identify personal risk factors for falls and discuss these risk factors with your healthcare provider

Try our Older Adult Sensory Kit - free to borrow from our Resource Library - and learn to identify and remove fall risks.

Get your vision and hearing checked regularly
 Vision and hearing play a vital role in balance and movement.
  • Get your eyes checked, and your glasses prescription reviewed at least every two years
  • Clean glasses regularly
  • Have your hearing checked
  • Keep hearing aids in good repair
Know the medications you are taking

As people age, you may be taking more medications for different reasons. Sometimes medications can have side effects that increase your risk of falling. For example, some can cause dizziness, reduce your balance, make you feel drowsy, slow your reaction time, and even impact your vision.

  • Consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist when changes to medications are made

  • Use only one pharmacy and never take another person’s medications

  • Ask your pharmacist whether it is safe to drink alcohol with the medications you are taking

  • If you have concerns about the effects of the medication you are currently taking, contact your healthcare provider to discuss your concerns

Use safety aids
Use devices that can help to keep you safe and active.
  • Wear your glasses and hearing aid
  • Wear non-slip, low-heeled shoes or slippers that fit snugly
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about the most appropriate walking aid for your needs

You may be eligible for financial help to pay for safety aids. To find out more, visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Assistive Devices Program.

Resources

For more information about preventing falls, visit:

Related information can also be found on the following pages:

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