A Fall Prevention Month Success Story
How To Run a Successful Fall Prevention Awareness Event
Falls are common, and the injuries can be critical.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations for Canadians over 65 years of age and the number of older adults in Canada is increasing rapidly. Approximately 30 per cent of older adults fall at least once a year, and those falls often result in disability, loss of independence or death. November is Fall Prevention Month and you can help prevent falls in your community by running an awareness event or activity.
Dr. Jeannette Byrne is a faculty member at Memorial University, where she teaches kinesiology with a focus on injury prevention. She also volunteers with the Newfoundland and Labrador Injury Prevention Coalition (NLIPC). Three years ago, the group recognized the growing risk of fall-related injuries in the provinces’ older adult population and began to organize educational events and activities in the province to prevent falls.
Last year, the work of the NLIPC lead to Dr. Byrne being featured on NTV’s First Edition, the number one news program in Newfoundland and Labrador. By submitting a press release to regional news outlets and serving as a spokesperson for NLIPC, she was able to discuss Fall Prevention Month and educate viewers on the prevalence of and risk factors associated with falls.
We asked Dr. Byrne for her advice to help other professionals increase fall prevention awareness in their communities. Here's what we learned.
For those who are new to Fall Prevention Month, what are some ideas to increase awareness?
Fall-prevention activities don’t have to be large-scale events to be effective.
We used some of the marketing materials available on the Fall Prevention Month website to help increase awareness among at risk individuals. We also created an informational word search that was distributed to flu clinics and physicians’ offices throughout the province to encourage awareness and an open dialogue.
For 2019, we are creating placemats for local restaurants with a significant older-adult clientele. Simply by placing these items in areas where older adults are likely to find them, we will increase their awareness of the risk factors and help them understand what they can do to prevent falls.
You can work with stakeholders in your region to develop a feasible plan and distribute the marketing materials among your colleagues or throughout your community. This could include any sheets or activities you create, as well as the free and premade materials on the Fall Prevention Month website.
Find places that your target audience congregates naturally and speak with them one-on-one. Take the opportunity to explain the risks involved and what they can do to reduce their risk. Bring your own printed activities and materials or take advantage of the downloadable materials on the Fall Prevention Month website to distribute at the events and remain top of mind.
What else can professionals do to increase awareness on a larger scale?
Use the posters, social posts and evidence-based activities, available for free, on the Fall Prevention Month website and share them with your colleagues, patients and other stakeholders.
If you aren’t able to run a large-scale event, speak with local media to help get the word out. The Fall Prevention Month website has a media relations tips, available in both French and English, to help you prepare your media release and take advantage of the awareness month.
If you are interested in running an event or putting together a media release but want additional support, feel free to reach out to us!