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 years old and older, you may have an Exercise and Falls Prevention class that is available at no cost in your community.  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.

Exercise and Fall Prevention Programs by the Government of Ontario

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.

The Staying Independent Checklist

Understanding risk factors

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. We 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:

How to Prevent Falls: A Complete Falls Prevention Guide for Seniors and Caregivers

You can prevent falls by making the needed adjustments to your home and lifestyle, and by making sure you eat well, stay fit, and use whatever devices will facilitate your daily life while keeping you safe.

Public Health Agency of Canada: You can prevent falls

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.

What to do after a fall

Find out more about preventing injury in seniors, preventing falls in children, home safety and more injury prevention information and resources.

Parachute injury prevention topics

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.

Canadian Fall Prevention Resources & Links

The Canadian Frailty Network’s mandate is to improve care for older adults living with frailty and support their families and caregivers. We 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.

Find our more about avoiding falls when living with frailty

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.

Safe For Elders, Safe for All

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 risk of falling.

How an Optometrist can help

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.

Child Safety Link

Reports

Quality Improvement Road Map to Preventing Falls, an initiative by Health Quality Ontario.

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.

Risk of falls and fear of falling in older adults residing in public housing in Ontario, Canada: findings from a multisite observational study by BMC Geriatrics.

Sign up for latest resources, events and updates from the OCO delivered right to your inbox.