The best fall prevention plan

The best fall prevention plan

The best fall prevention plan

By Published On: June 21st, 2024

This week, I saw a man sitting on the ground in his driveway after taking out his garbage.

I approached him to ask if he was okay. He wasn’t.

His name was Vince. He was 91 years old, had fallen and could not get up unassisted. 

Falls are a significant concern for public health in Canada, particularly among older adults.

  • Approximately 20-30% of seniors (65 and older) in Canada experience at least one fall each year.
  • Falls are a leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors, accounting for over 50% of these hospital admissions.
  • Falls that result in a hip fracture dramatically increase an older person’s risk of death. One in three adults aged 50 and over dies within 12 months of suffering a hip fracture due to complications such as infections, blood clots, and pneumonia, which arise from prolonged immobility and surgery recovery.
  • Older adults have a five to eight times higher risk of dying within the first three months of a hip fracture compared to those without a hip fracture. This increased risk of death remains for almost ten years after the fracture.

Beyond physical injuries, falls can lead to reduced mobility, loss of independence, and an increased fear of falling again, significantly impacting quality of life.

What is the best fall prevention plan?

Practice keeping strong and eating enough protein. Here’s how!

Regular physical activity (Play) is one of the most effective ways to maintain overall physical health and prevent falls. When considering what types, be sure to include:

  1. Balance and Coordination: Incorporate movements that enhance balance and coordination, such as dancing, yoga, or tai chi. These activities can strengthen muscles and improve proprioception (knowing where you are in space), which is crucial for preventing falls.
  2. Strengthening Muscles: Doing resistance training two to three times a week effectively reduces the risk of falls by building muscle strength through all your major muscle groups—legs, chest, back, arms, and core. Stronger muscles provide better support and stability, reducing the likelihood of falls. Also, consider incorporating moves that help you practice getting up off the floor.  
  3. Increasing Flexibility: Engaging in stretching activities, such as yoga, tai chi, and pilates, improves flexibility. Greater flexibility and range of motion in your joints can help prevent falls by allowing individuals to move more freely and recover quickly from losing balance.
  4. Social Interaction and Reducing Fear: Play often involves social interaction, which can reduce feelings of isolation and depression common in older adults.

To keep your muscles strong, focus on a healthy, balanced diet with protein at every meal. 

Protein requirements vary by age and activity level, but the average active individual should aim for 30g of protein per meal.

For more information, download this PDF that I share with my clients. If you want a list with more specific protein values for all types of sources, reply to this email with “Protein!”

Improving strength, balance, flexibility, and social well-being can reduce the risk of falls.

Community programs that promote playful activities can be particularly beneficial for older adults in maintaining health and preventing injuries.

We got Vince back to his house safely, and his wife felt he didn’t need further intervention as he would see his doctor the next day.  

I hope he’s okay. And I hope you are, too:)

Summer has arrived. Play safe!

Your coach and friend,

Jan xo

PS: Whenever you are ready, here are 3 more ways I can help you PLAY for life:

  1. Click here to grab a copy of my best-selling book, The Play Book: How To Get In The Habit Of Good Health.
  2. Join the FREE 7-Days of Healthy Habits Course that can help you starting today.
  3. Do you want to work with me on your wellness goals? Click here to book a call and discover exactly what that can look like.

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About the Author: Janet Omstead

To re-ignite people’s passion for play (movement) to fight chronic disease while improving their quality of life as they age.

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