What's your 50 year plan for keeping yourself from falling and seriously injuring yourself or losing your independence as you age? Chances are you may not be thinking that far ahead. That’s okay! While life and health can have unpredictable elements, the choices you make today (and tomorrow, and the day after…) can influence your health, mobility and independence in the future.
Many risk factors important to the prevention of serious falls and fall-related injuries – which result in hospital stays, surgery and mobility limitations – are under your influence.
Consider the “chutes” and “ladders” of your lifestyle; the choices you make that can either set you back or give you a boost up. These can influence your likelihood of a future serious fall: factors like eating nutritiously, staying physically active, incorporating strength and balance exercise into your routines, and getting regular check-ups with your doctor all go a long way to keep you independent and injury-free as you get older.
Did you know that:
- The risk of falling increases with age but falls are not a normal part of aging
- Falls are the leading cause of injury for about one third of older adults aged 65+ in BC
- Each year, an average of 13,000 older adults are hospitalized from falls (36 per day) and over 500 die
- Risk of falling increases with age, and women experience hip fractures and other fall-related fractures at almost twice the rate of men
- When an older person falls, it can have an enduring and devastating impact resulting in injury, loss of mobility, a reduced quality of life, and in severe cases, death.
- 50 per cent of post hip fracture patients will not regain pre-injury mobility and will need permanent use of a cane, walker or other mobility aid for walking.
Everyone aims to live their best late life possible – serious fall injury-free and independent. Play our game of Falls Prevention Chutes and Ladders. How would you fare?
Author’s Bio: Linda Phillips is a Senior Policy Analyst in Injury Prevention at the Ministry of Health who works on fall prevention for frail seniors and injury prevention. When she’s not preventing injuries she loves to horseback ride.
Finding Balance BC
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines: Handbook
HealthlinkBC: Healthy Eating and Healthy Aging for Adults
HealthlinkBC: Calcium and Vitamin D Recommendations
Canadian Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
2017 Seniors’ Falls Prevention Awareness Week Proclamation
SeniorsBC: Seniors’ Falls Prevention Awareness Week
SeniorsBC: Falls Prevention
Hip Health and Mobility