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Help Prevent Falls this Holiday Season
Falls continue to be the leading cause of unintentional injuries requiring a hospital stay in Interlake-Eastern RHA, particularly among seniors over the age of 75. Falls can have serious consequences, including hospitalization, permanent loss of mobility and independence, and even death. 

A public health agency report on seniors’ falls in Canada has identified that 50 per cent of falls experienced by seniors that result in hospitalization occur in the home. 

Most falls are preventable. If you find yourself in the home of elderly relatives this holiday season or if you are hosting them or living with them, the best gift you can give them is to spot and correct fall hazards.  

“It’s our objective to keep people living at home for as long as it’s safely possible because we know that generally people are happier in their own homes. To keep older adults safe, it’s important that families assess and address the risks for falls to occur over the holiday season and beyond,” says Karen Stevens-Chambers, vice president of community services and chief allied health officer with Interlake-Eastern RHA.

Here are some tips to keep in mind over the holidays and into the New Year: 

When moving furniture to accommodate guests or decorations, be sure to maintain clear and wide pathways. 
Keep walkways inside and around homes clear of clutter.
Ensure easy access to frequently used electrical plugs. 
Tuck lengths of excess extension cords away from travel paths. Never run an extension cord across a pathway.
Tape rugs securely so they won’t lift if feet shuffle over them. Watch for signs of lifting. 
Dimmed lights add to ambiance but bright lighting is important for clear vision especially for people who are older. 
Keep handrails and other essential supports easily accessible. If you run garland along your stairs consider weaving it  below the handrail to ensure it’s still a functional support.

Many resources on falls prevention are available. Follow this link for an online booklet that outlines nine key areas to focus on when preventing falls: being more physically active, managing medications, taking care of health, improving balance, developing safe way to walk, foot care and safe footwear, checking eyesight, eating well and identifying, removing and reporting hazards.

You can also complete an online home safety checklist that may help you identify some needed work in the home and yard to help keep people on their feet:

Preventing falls is an excellent way to help ensure good health for older adults throughout the year.

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