Lower Your Risk of Falling

Reduce your risk of falls - clean out your medicine cabinet

Health • Posted by OttawaStart on June 29, 2011

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is supporting the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) through the Medication Clean-Out project. An awareness event took place this morning at the Aging in Place building located at 280 Rochester Street.

“In taking precautions such as cleaning out old or unnecessary medications, we will reduce the number of seniors who have to visit emergency rooms and that is an outcome we all want,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

The CCAC and OPH are focusing on proper medicine use, tracking, safe disposal and fall prevention.

OPH has participated in the medication clean-out since 2007. The project aims to improve the health of seniors by encouraging older adults to clean out their medicine cabinets on a regular basis.

“As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to serious injury, or even death, that can occur from falls. Taking a large number of medications per day creates a risk for these falls,” said Councillor Diane Holmes, Chair of the Board of Health. “In supporting the CCAC, we recommend that all adults over the age of 65 review the medication that they take daily.”

A senior is at an increased risk of falling if they are over the age of 65, take medications to sleep or calm nerves, and take more than four medications per day.

To reduce the risk of falls, it is important to:

  • Review medications with your doctor every six months.
  • Know about the side effects of the medications.
  • Tell your doctor if your medication makes you dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Never take someone else’s medication.
  • Talk to your doctor if insomnia persists.

“By providing a way for people to dispose of the medicine they no longer need, we are preventing potential misuse and protecting the environment,” said Gilles Lanteigne, CEO of the Champlain CCAC. “This project proves how successful initiatives, like the Aging in Place partnership, can be when all the sectors – health, community and housing – work toward improving the lives of seniors in our community.”

“One in three seniors will experience a fall each year, but like many injuries, these falls can be prevented,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health. “Taking a few easy actions to prevent an injury can help an older adult enjoy a healthier life.”

OPH has been encouraging healthy lifestyles for seniors along with the Champlain CCAC and through Aging in Place.

Aging in Place, a joint partnership between OPH, the Champlain CCAC, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation and Ottawa West Community Support, works to encourage healthy at-home living for seniors. This includes overall improvement of health status and a decrease in emergency room visits made by seniors age 65 and up.

To learn about seniors’ health, visit ottawa.ca/health or call 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with OPH on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth).