ERs bracing for more falls as wintery weather approaches, but here's how you can avoid them

At 74, Côte-des-Neiges resident Harbachan Kaur Mudhar was worried about how she would recover, after falling and breaking her leg in the bathtub.

“At first I didn’t feel it,” she said “But when they picked me up from the bathtub, the hell started then.”

She was operated on, after being taken to hospital. Mudhar is now on her way to full recovery, thanks to intense physiotherapy at the Lindsay pavilion in Côte-des-Neiges.

A recent study by the Public Health Agency of Canada lists falls as the number one source of injuries among seniors.

It has a major impact on their lives and the health-care system, according to Dr. Elise Lapointe, a general practitioner who specializes in fall injuries and rehabilitation at the Lindsay pavilion.

“We start with traumatic head injuries, there's also cervical spine injuries, leading to paralysis, to upper and lower limb or both, and then we have common hip fractures, and pelvic fractures,” she said,

“It leads to debilitating pain and slow, and sometimes impossible recovery.”

If that wasn’t enough, there's also nearly 9,000 people who are hospitalized every year on average in Canada, strictly after falling on ice, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

Health-care professionals are once bracing themselves for an uptick, this winter.

“In rehab, we see a peak in the amount of hip fractures in January and February,” Lapointe added.

Health authorities are now launching a prevention campaign, specifically targeting seniors, with basic, but life-saving tips on how to avoid falls.

Walking on ice in Montreal requires a few habits.

“You bend slightly forward, you separate your feet, in a V shape, then you free your hands out of your pockets, and if you need to carry things you use a backpack,” said Barbara Fillion, an occupational therapist for Montreal Public Health.

Montreal has often been criticized for its icy sidewalks. The rule of thumb: always brace yourself for the worst conditions, said Fillion

“You need to be mindful on what you walk, and where you walk, such as dead leaves, on the sidewalks, ice, and changing conditions.”

And keeping in shape, just as Mudhar does, can also provide seniors with the strength needed to remain grounded.

For more helpful resources to avoid falls:

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