Preventing, making falls safer

Falls are the number one reason seniors are admitted to hospital according to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information released this past July. November is Fall Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about this significant issue.

At the Research Institute for Aging, we’re doing our part by highlighting the work of our researchers who are finding ways to prevent falls and also how to make them safer when they do happen.

Head shot of Lora GiangregorioLora Giangregorio, Schlegel Research Chair in Mobility and Aging
Exercising for balance and stronger bones
Research shows that exercise can prevent falls, and emerging research suggests it may also prevent bone loss, something that happens as we age. Yet, for lots of reasons, many adults are sedentary. Giangregorio and her research team work collaboratively with health care providers and people with osteoporosis to develop exercise recommendations to prevent falls and fractures and keep people active and mobile.

 

Head shot of Richard HughsonRichard Hughson, Schlegel Research Chair in Vascular Aging and Brain Health
Using a ‘second heart’ for stability
Falls occur for many reasons, including poor blood pressure control and reduced blood flow to the brain when standing up. Hughson, Engineering professor Sean Peterson and their team have found that applying intermittent pressure on the lower legs with a ‘cuff’ helps maintain blood pressure and brain blood flow when a person stands up, reducing the risk of falls

 

Head shot of Andrew LaingAndrew Laing, Research Scientist, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
Reducing the impact of falls
Safety flooring and protective devices can absorb some of the impact associated with a fall, reducing the risk of injuries.  Laing and his lab are working with staff members in long-term care and retirement homes to determine where falls are occurring, what types of injuries are being experienced and where or when devices such as safety floors and hip protectors should be used.

 

Contact: Liz Snyder, Interim Director of Communications
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
p. 519-904-0660 ext 4104
liz.snyder@uwaterloo.ca