November is Seniors’ Falls Prevention Month Across Alberta
November 8, 2014 | By Nadia
November is Seniors’ Falls Prevention month across Alberta with education, awareness and a fun challenge being provided by the Finding Balance campaign. “The facts don’t lie. Every year, one in three Alberta seniors will fall,” says Kathy Belton, Associate Director for the Injury Prevention Centre. “While falling may not seem serious, falls can disable, cause physical and mental distress and seriously diminish your quality of life. In 2011, there were over 8,700 hospital admissions costing Albertans over $160 million. The good news is we can take steps to prevent falls.”
The Finding Balance campaign promotes real life strategies older adults can do to reduce their risk of falling including:
- Keep Active – exercise for strength and balance
- Check your Medications – talk to your doctor or pharmacist
- Watch your Step – wherever you are
- Speak up about Dizziness – talk to your doctor and take action
The focus of this year’s campaign is to keep active. Doing at least 150 minutes of activity every week is important because regular physical activity, especially strength and balance exercises, increases muscle strength, improves balance and helps prevent falls.
Walking with ACTIVATOR Urban Poles is an ideal way for older adults to keep active. Not only will a regular program of pole walking strengthen all the cores muscles, in addition to the arms and legs but it provides extra stability encouraging people to walk confidently with a good walking gait. Walking with poles also encourages a strong, upright posture. With winter weather approaching, the rubber booties can be removed to allow the carbide tips to provide improved traction on snow and ice. Think of a pair of poles as providing four-wheel drive for humans, while a pair of icers or cleats added over the footwear is akin to adding snow tires to your car.
Urban Poling is holding a number of Falls Prevention events across Alberta this month and into December. Certified instructors will be present at the following retail outlets to explain the benefits of Urban Poling, demonstrate the technique, and assist people with setting the poles up correctly:
Nov 13th – Shoppers Home Health Care, Calgary, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Nov 20th – Shoppers Home Health Care, Medicine Hat, 3:00 pm –5:00 pm
Nov 27th – Shoppers Home Health Care, Red Deer, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Dec 11th – Shoppers Home Health Care, Lethbridge, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In addition, an introduction to using the ACTIVATOR poles for falls prevention will take place at the South Ridge Family YMCA in Medicine Hat from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm and at the Kerby Centre in Calgary, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm on November 25th.
Urban Poling will also be holding another of the popular ACTIVATOR Falls Prevention webinars for health and wellness practitioners on Dec. 16th, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am MT and one specific to Urban Poling for clients with Parkinson’s on Wednesday, November 26, from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm MT. To register for this free webinar, go to this link and click on the “register here” button.
To provide additional motivation and a healthy challenge to Falls Prevention Month, Finding Balance has partnered with UWalk to create the Virtual Trek across Alberta. Using a pedometer which can be loaned from any library across Alberta, or simply by recording time spent in any form of physical activity, participants log their steps (time spent in other activities is converted to steps) and set individual goals or join in the cumulative effort of walking all over Alberta by the end of November. There is also a community specifically for the Urban Poling community. Here is your invitation. Take out a free UWALK membership and join our community, “Urban Polers of Alberta” today!
Use the standard rhythm and technique, but swing both arms forward at the same time planting the boot tips slightly behind the handles. Then, keeping your arms straight, press down on the base of the handles, walk between your poles and feel your arms extend past your thighs and behind your body.
–Barb Gormley, Director of Education