November is a month that not only marks Change Day Ontario’s celebration of pledges, but also Fall Prevention Month. These two important campaigns are working in tandem, through the encouragement of fall prevention-centered Change Day pledges.
Fall Prevention Month is a pan-Canadian initiative highlighting the importance of preventing falls among children and older adults. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and hospitalizations in Canada. Although anyone can experience a fall, children under six and older adults over 65 are at the highest risk of sustaining an injury after a fall.
However, we know that most falls are predictable and preventable. There are many well known risk factors for falling. For example, older adults may have health issues, mobility issues, and as a result, may take numerous medications. Young children tend to be top heavy and lack higher level reasoning to navigate risky situations. Older adults and young children can benefit from various interventions to prevent falling. Environmental safeguards at home and outdoors like proper stair handrails and baby safety gates can reduce the risk of falling. Access to safe and supervised play or exercise facilities can improve social and physical well-being. There are many socially determined risk factors for falls, which explains the motto: “It takes a community to prevent a fall. We all have a role to play.”
Similarly, pledging relies on everyone to create change for all communities. Recognizing the common goal of both Change Day Ontario and Fall Prevention Month, both organizations are encouraging all of us to make Change Day pledges aimed at preventing falls at work, at home or to support a loved one.
Are you a caregiver or friend of an older adult? Pledge to take them to an exercise class, visit an older adult living alone, help an older adult assess their home for potential hazards, or take them to review their multiple medications with their health care provider this November.
Are you a teacher, early childhood educator, parent or caregiver? Pledge to assess the classroom, playground or home for ways you can prevent falls among children.
Are you an organization providing care to older adults or children? Pledge to have staff meetings on how you can prevent falls in your facility.
Visit the Fall Prevention Month toolkit for more ideas on how you can pledge to prevent falls!
For Ontarians, be sure to register your pledge on the Change Day Ontario website.