No falls this Fall, or any other season

Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion grant program

Dr. Ellina Lytvyak

Falls and seniors: a far-reaching, costly problem

It’s a fine line for older adults: The line between being aware of the risks of falling and avoiding physical activity, out of fear of falling.

Yet, despite the many, related public awareness campaigns targeted at seniors, warning of the risks and advising on ways to prevent falls, the messages frequently miss their target audience: one-in-three seniors aged 65 years and older are likely to fall at least once.

As the leading cause of injuries and hospitalizations of older adults, and a major risk factor for the transitioning of previously independent seniors to long-term care and assisted living, falls in seniors are estimated to have an annual health care system burden cost of $2 billion.

Falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors, and between 20% to 30% of seniors fall each year. Falls and associated outcomes not only harm the injured individuals but also affect family, friends, care providers and the health care system. However, we do know that these personal and economic costs can be avoided through injury prevention activities.

Reaching out to vulnerable, foreign-born senior populations

With her Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion project – No Falls This Fall, or Any Other Season – Dr. Ellina Lytvyak identified a sector of seniors’ population that is deemed to have an even higher risk of falls, and that is vulnerable populations, including foreign-born seniors. This population often lives alone, with inadequate access to health care and experiences language barriers that prevent the understanding of health promotion efforts in a foreign language.

Read the full story.

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