November is Falls Prevention Month

November 16, 2017

Falls are a serious risk to people across all age groups. For example, in Central West Ontario, which includes Wellington County, Dufferin County, and the City of Guelph, falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths. For older adults, falls are the main cause of loss of independence. There are many different factors that may increase someone’s risk of falling. Examples of these risk factors include chronic health conditions, older age, physical inactivity, substance-use, risk-taking, unsafe housing and poor environmental design, for example uneven side-walks. 

Below is a list of questions that will help you or a family member to understand risks for falls. These questions are geared toward older adults and also include many helpful tips to reduce risks of falls and injuries. Once you answer these questions, if you score 4 or higher, we encourage you to ask your doctor about your risk of falling. 

Some ways to reduce risks of falls in older adults include: 

  • Exercising daily to build strength and improve balance
  • Wearing safe footwear
  • Getting your eyes checked regularly
  • Making your home safer by:
    • Removing tripping hazards like clutter or rugs
    • Adding railings on stairs and grab bars in the washroom
    • Installing good lighting, especially on stairs
  • Talking to your healthcare provider about your risk and ways to reduce it 

Safe Communities Wellington County’s Falls Priority Advisory Group adapted this screener, with permission, from the “Stay Independent” brochure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.