November is Fall Prevention Month in Canada, a perfect time to promote awareness of this health issue, says kinesiology professor Paula van Wyk.
“I cannot stress enough: a fall can happen to anyone, and a fall is not a normal part of the aging process,” she says. “A fall is preventable, and the potential injury associated with a fall can also be reduced or prevented.”
Injury prevention and aging are among Dr. van Wyk’s research interests. She notes that falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older adults and children 0-14 years old.
“When a toddler is learning to walk, a fall is often part of the process. We may even cheer on the efforts involving the fall, pick the child up to try again, and perhaps find the fall to be adorable,” she says. “However, all too often when an older adult has a fall, we are quick to blame and shame.”
Van Wyk serves as a member of the Windsor-Essex County Fall Prevention Committee, which has published a Resource & Activity Booklet to promote awareness through the month of November. Find it here.
“If you, a loved one, neighbour, colleague, or friend is experiencing falls, there are many resources to help,” she says. “Be safe this November. Stay on your feet.”