Preventing Falls and Caring for Someone at Risk of Falling
If you’re caring for a young child, a senior or older adult, someone who may be frail, or a person with a disability, the risk of falls may be a concern to you as a caregiver.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 20 to 30% of seniors experience a fall every year. Falls remain the leading cause of injury and hospital visits among seniors. The Canadian Institute for Health Information has also indicated that 4 out of 5 injury hospitalizations involving seniors were because of a fall.
As a caregiver, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent a fall, how to respond in the event of a fall, or how you can reduce the risk of future falls.
Preventing Falls in Seniors & Adults
Exercise and Falls Prevention Programs help seniors stay healthy, active, and mobile. Exercise classes focus on helping seniors stay active and improve and maintain balance, strength and mobility. Falls Prevention classes are often taught by a physiotherapist or other health professional and provide information on preventing falls in seniors.
If you are 65 and older, there may be an Exercise and Falls Prevention class available to you at no cost. You can contact the Ontario Caregiver Helpline 24/7 at 1-833-416-2273 to find out if this program is available in your community and learn more about other resources near you.
Other tools and resources that may help
The Staying Independent Checklist is a tool that can be used by older adults, health care providers or caregivers to assess an adult’s risk for falls in the home. Users answer “Yes”/”No” to a list of statements and are given a score based on their response. The total score is tallied up in a format that you can print and discuss with your doctor or health care provider.
Closing the Gap Healthcare is a healthcare service provider, offering home care and clinic-based healthcare services throughout Ontario and Nova Scotia. They operate 11 physiotherapy clinics and 4 nursing clinics throughout Ontario. They also work in schools, retirement homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and throughout the community. Take a look at their guide on fall prevention for seniors and caregivers.
You can prevent falls by making the needed adjustments to your care recipient’s home and lifestyle, and by making sure they eat well, stay fit, and use whatever devices to facilitate their daily life while keeping them safe. Learn more on falls prevention from Public Health Agency of Canada.
What to do after a fall? This resource was created by the Government of Canada. The webpage provides instructions on how to get up from a fall, what to do if you cannot get up from a fall and if you are a witness to someone who has fallen.
Find out more from Parachute, Canada’s leader in injury prevention, about preventing injury in seniors, preventing falls in children, home safety and more injury prevention information and resources.
The Canadian Fall Prevention Curriculum offers resources and information that is intended for health professionals, and some of their resources and links may also be useful to a family member, friend or other person providing care.
The Canadian Frailty Network’s mandate is to improve care for older adults living with frailty and support their families and caregivers. They will do this by increasing recognition and assessment of frailty, increasing evidence for decision making, advancing evidence-based changes to care, educating the next generation of care providers, and by engaging with older adults and caregivers. Learn more about avoiding falls.
Safe for Elders, Safe for All is an initiative supported by the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, Fraser Thompson Indian Services Society, Fraser and Interior Health Authorities, and 5 First Nation communities within the Fraser Canyon. Some of these resources may be useful to Indigenous caregivers and communities in Ontario.
Preventing Falls in Children
Learn from the Ontario Association of Optometrists as to how an optometrist can detect and manage eye issues that may be increasing your child’s risk of falling.
Child Safety Link is an injury prevention program at the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital (IWK) Health Centre dedicated to reducing the incidence and severity of unintentional injury to children and youth in the Canadian Maritimes. There are no similar resources in Ontario, but some caregivers may find some of these resources useful.
Seniors’ Falls in Canada: Second Report, Public Health Agency of Canada.
Preventing Falls: From Evidence to Improvement in Canadian Health Care, A Collaboration from Accreditation Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.
The Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto offers evidence-based tools for older adults and caregivers. Download their resources on how to care for an older person with frailty.
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario has developed the Preventing Falls and Reducing Injury from Fall, Fourth Edition – a guideline that outlines evidence-based approaches for preventing falls and reducing fall injuries for adults.