Launch of the inaugural Falls Prevention Awareness Campaign for seniors organised by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) - Photo from HPB

HPB launchs campaign to prevent falls among seniors

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) launched a new campaign on last Saturday (July 9) to raise more awareness of how seniors and their caregivers can reduce the risk of falls.

The Falls Prevention Awareness Campaign, an initiative under the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, is the third in a series of campaigns under the National Seniors’ Health Programme.

According to the agency, about 8,000 seniors aged 65 and above have been admitted to hospitals due to falls yearly for the past three years. Furthermore, about 60 per cent of all trauma deaths in 2013 were due to falls and half of all trauma deaths were of seniors aged 65 and above, it said.

One in six people aged 65 and older has had a fall and it usually happens at home. A fall can result in serious injuries such as broken bones and can sometimes lead to permanent disability.

Singapore has one of the fastest ageing populations in the world. The estimated number of elderly persons aged 65 years will triple to 900,000 by year 2030.

“The incidence of falls increases sharply with age and it is expected that the numbers will rise as our population ages,” HPB added.

“The Government wants to reach out to seniors and their caregivers to let them understand that falls can be prevented through basic practical ways”, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said through the Falls Prevention Awareness Campaign

“By making simple changes to lifestyle and the home environment, seniors can remain healthy, active and independent and  continue to have a good quality of life even as they age,” Dr Khor said.

As part of the campaign, a guide on preventing falls will be given to caregivers. – this guide will contain:

  • A simple falls risk checklist
  • Information on the consequences of falling
  • Tips on how to reduce a seniors’ risk of falls by making simple changes to daily activities
  • Home safety checklist to identify potential hazards –

A simplified version of the guide has also been developed to better cater to seniors, focusing on five simple tips to prevent falls:

  • Exercising regularly to build and maintain lower body strength and balance
  • Keeping bones strong by having a calcium-rich diet
  • Going for regular eye checks
  • Wearing well-fitting non-slip shoes
  • Keeping the home safe and clutter-free.

The simplified guide will feature simple instructions accompanied with pictures to help seniors learn what they should do in the event of a fall and equip caregivers with knowledge on how they can assist a senior if they fall.

The guides will be distributed at roadshows in July and through HPB’s partners such as community centres, retail pharmacies and public healthcare providers from August 2016.