No one is immune to the occasional fall. Especially during our harsh Canadian winters, icy surfaces make the risk of falling a lot greater. However, it probably goes without saying that our elderly population is most susceptible to slips and falls. Due to their decreasing motor skills and reduced mobility, they don’t need icy patches to end up on the ground. The statistics show that we all need to do a better job of helping seniors to avoid falls.
Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians.
This statistic comes courtesy of the Public Health Agency of Canada. They note that falls cause a whopping 85 percent of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors. Falls are also not only the most common cause, but nearly the only cause of hip fractures among the elderly in Canada at 95 percent. It costs $2 billion a year in healthcare costs to cover hospitalizations for seniors who experience falls.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also reveals that falls create the longest hospital stays. The average Canadian senior, they report, stays in hospital 10 days longer for falls than for any other cause. Between 2003 and 2008, 43 percent of injuries among seniors were due to falls and there was a 65 percent increase in deaths due to falls within that time period.
87 percent of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls.
This statistic comes courtesy of Comfort Keepers, a Toronto-based organization, with an office in Calgary, that specializes in in-home care for the elderly. “Among people aged 65 to 69, one out of every 200 falls results in a hip fracture,” they note on their website, “That number increases to one out of every 10 for those aged 85 and older.”
Comfort Keepers also confirms the Public Health Agency of Canada’s statistics by noting that hospital stays for the elderly are twice as long as other older patients who are admitted for other reasons. They also point out that seniors who have fallen are likely to do so on repeated occasions. “Two-thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months,” reveals their site.
What can be done to prevent seniors from falling?
Thankfully, falls can be prevented as long as particular measures are taken. And there are a lot of measures! It all starts with the elderly person taking some initiative. As Veterans Affairs Canada advocates, improving health is a big deal. Eating well and keeping fit is important. But they also point out that the elderly need to put extra effort into monitoring their sight and hearing.
“People who cannot see or hear properly are at greater risk of falling,” reads the Veterans Affairs Canada website, “Be sure you wear appropriate glasses (wearing reading glasses while walking is dangerous!). Impaired hearing also puts you at risk of falling (if you don’t hear traffic or children playing around you). Have your eyesight and hearing tested regularly. If you need glasses or a hearing aid, wear them!”
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we proudly provide a wide array of mobility solutions that help seniors to significantly lower their risk of falling. They include walkers, wheelchairs and scooters to name just a few. If you have any questions about the mobility solutions that we have to offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask them. Give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact Us page!