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FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE

- New Resources Can Help Older Adults and Care Providers in Northumberland Reduce the Risk of Falls -

A new set of resources are being highlighted to help older adults and their care providers in Northumberland find solid footing when it comes to reducing falls.

With November being Fall Prevention Month, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and Safe Communities Northumberland County are teaming up to promote a new fall prevention video, online fall prevention course and other resources. The promotional effort is timely when falls are the leading cause of preventable injury for seniors in Ontario, say health and safety advocates.

“With one in three seniors suffering a fall every year, it’s important to reduce the risk of injuries and death. In many cases, falls are predictable and preventable,” says Joanne Brewster, a member of the Safe Communities Northumberland initiative and a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit.

“Even if a fall doesn’t injure a person, it can result in lack of confidence and decreased physical activity that could lead to another fall in the future,” adds Heather Grundy, who is also a Safe Communities member and a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “All of us are affected by falls, so it’s important for the entire community to play a role in addressing the problem.”

For older adults, the Health Unit and Safe Communities Northumberland have teamed up to produce a series of fall-prevention resources. The newest is a six-minute Falls Can Be Prevented video that features tips from local health care providers on ways that people can reduce their risk of falling. Other resources include an information sheet, brochure and listings of falls prevention programs in Northumberland. All of these resources are available at the Safe Communities Northumberland websiteor by calling the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577.

For care providers who work with older adults in their home, a free online course called Positive Steps Work is another valuable resource. Developed by the Durham Region Health Department, Positive Steps Work is an interactive fall prevention course that helps participants understand how a fall affects seniors, the risks associated with falls and the resources available to help seniors prevent falls. Local care providers can access the Positive Steps Work course by visiting the Health Unit website.

People can also get more tips and information at the Fall Prevention Month website.

To further help prevent falls, the Health Unit offers these tips:

F - Keep fit for strength and balance, and don’t let fear of falling prevent social interaction and regular activity in or out of your home.

A - Ensure assistive devices, such as grab bars, walkers, canes and wheelchairs, are installed and used correctly.

L - Look for factors that can cause falls and fix the problem. Potential hazards include poorly-fitting shoes and clothing, scatter rugs or mats, slippery floors, clutter, poor lighting and more.

L - Let family members, friends and health care providers know of any near falls or unsteadiness. These could be related to medication side-effects or other health issues.

S - Schedule an annual medical checkup, including for vision and hearing.

For media inquiries, contact:

Joanne Brewster, Health Promoter, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100,

or Heather Grundy, Health Promoter, Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100.

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