Over the past few years, Quebec seniors have repeatedly expressed the desire to live as long as possible at home. Thus, the intensification of the shift towards home support for seniors has become a stated priority of the Government of Quebec. This is a good thing.
However, the first part of a study on the state of home support services conducted by the Health and Welfare Commissioner, Joanne Castonguay, confirms that the state’s response to the needs of the population remains limited. . Obviously, this sector is not spared by the labor shortage that is raging in the province or by the state of permanent pressure that is rife in the health network.
In Quebec, 1 million seniors aged 65 and over live at home and a third of them will fall during the year. Moreover, 25% of visits by seniors to emergency rooms in the province are the result of falls. Because once a senior falls, there is a higher likelihood that they will fall again, often within the same year.
Falls are therefore a dramatic public health problem that must be seriously examined now.
It is in this context that we, the geriatricians of the MUHC (Montreal General Hospital), push the wheel by presenting a solution within everyone’s reach in terms of home care. We want to share our expertise on the health issues that affect seniors in order to prevent the appearance of conditions that are likely to lead to falls in this part of the population.
The principle that drives us is this: we know that integrating exercise into the lifestyle of seniors can reduce falls by up to 40%. So we set up the Support for Seniors for Fitness and Balance (SAFE) program.
It is thanks to the support of the Montreal General Hospital Foundation that we are able to offer this virtual falls prevention tool, which is completely free and is intended for the entire population of Quebec. It is a tool that has the potential to make a difference across the province.
The Support for Seniors for Fitness and Balance (SAFE) program is available to everyone and would benefit from being used frequently and diligently by home care workers and caregivers of seniors. It is an invitation to join hands, like a big family, to prevent falls among our Quebec seniors and to promote healthy aging.
In fact, one of the pillars of the government’s health care reform plan is precisely prevention. We believe that integrating it into home care services, in a more accessible way, is an avenue for reducing the demand for hospital services. Keeping our seniors out of hospitals and as healthy as possible fits perfectly with government goals.
Together, let’s act for the prevention of falls and the health of our seniors!