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2016 News and Information

Fall statistics among seniors are alarming

13 January 2016

For most people, falling down is something that is just brushed off, where the person collects themselves and forgets about the incident shortly thereafter. However, for senior citizens, a fall can cause serious, potentially life threatening ramifications and could even cause death. The risk of falling for seniors is especially high during this rainy and wet time of the year.

“At this time of year with ice and rain making walkways slippery and lighting being poor, I encourage everyone to be more mindful of their surroundings to avoid having an unfortunate circumstance,” says Deputy Chief Kim Howell.

The rate of occurrence and statistics of seniors falling is alarming. According to the BC Ministry of Health, more than 200,000 BC seniors annually will experience one or more falls, resulting in more than 10,000 hospitalizations.

Everyone should be aware of the risks of falling and take precaution to prevent such instances.  These helpful tips will help to lessen the chances of falling in your home or outside:

  • Keep travel walkways in your home or sidewalks and pathways clear of any obstructions
  • Be sure that lighting is at adequate levels to see where you are walking
  • Reduce the use of throw rugs and small carpeted mats
  • Install safety handrails in and around your home and ensure they secured correctly

Pay attention to these outdoor hazards:

  • snow, ice and slippery sidewalks
  • uneven sidewalks, paths and curb ramps
  • debris and obstacles such as tree roots or hanging branches, signs, trash cans, planters, benches, wet leaves
  • lack of stair handrails
  • poor lighting

There are many resources and websites available to learn about preventing falls, even classes offered at several Community Centres in Richmond including a community partnership program offered to reduce the risk of falling called, Steadyfeet®. For more information about the program or to find a class in Richmond visit, www.steadyfeet.vch.ca or to register, visit www.richmond.ca/register.

For more information about falls prevention resources for seniors in Richmond, call the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Richmond Falls Prevention Team at 604-233-3145 or visit the following websites: www.fallprevention.vch.cawww.findingbalancebc.ca or www.parachutecanada.org/falls.