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Fall prevention awareness: Non-profit to conduct free tests for Richmond seniors

Participate in fall prevention assessments for a chance to get a gift bag
Gaia Cares will be conducting free fall risk assessments for Richmond residents over 55 years old next Saturday. Photo submitted

A non-profit is trying to raise awareness on how elderly community members can avoid falling down and injuring themselves.

Next Saturday, Gaia Cares will be conducting free assessments in Richmond for anyone over 55 years old to see how likely they are to fall.

The assessments will be based on the Berg Balance Scale, which requires the patient to undergo a series of tasks to determine their ability to balance.

According to Gaia Cares’s survey of 90 elderly participants in June this year, 60 per cent experienced one or more falls within one year and 48 per cent fell twice or more.

“According to Public Health Agency of Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians with 20 to 30 per cent (of) seniors experiencing one or more falls each year,” reads a statement from Gaia Cares.

“Falls cause 85 per cent of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations, 95 per cent of all hip fractures.”

Most falls are “predictable and prevental,” said Gaia Cares, and it is hoping to increase awareness of fall risks among Richmond seniors.

The Richmond Fall Prevention Awareness Day will take place on Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Richmond South Centre MLA Henry Yao’s office.

The assessment is limited to those over 55 years old and will take five to eight minutes.

Participants will get gift bags for participating in the assessment and they can also enjoy fall prevention games and informative booths about fall risks. Gift bags are first come, first served.

For more information, visit Gaia Cares’s website.