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North Bay-area health unit launches fall prevention program for seniors


The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is launching a fall prevention program free of charge this month for any older adults worried about their balance.

Experts say falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults.

"Last year there was a gal here who fell in a windstorm and it blew her right off her feet and she ended up in hospital for over a week," said Maureen Bruce-Payne, North Bay Golden Age Club volunteer.

The program is called 'STAND UP!' and is made up of sessions focusing on building balance, strength and flexibility for seniors who have fallen or are fearful of doing so.

“STAND UP! started back in 2014 and was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Taylor Matson, the health unit's community health promoter.

"So during that time when it was on hold we made some updates."

In-person classes will be offered twice a week in a handful of Nipissing and Parry Sound communities. STAND UP! will also offer education on proper footwear, hearing, vision and medication.

“Trained facilitators will assess each participant on their balance at the first and less session of the program to track changes in the 12 weeks," said Matson.

Statistics Canada data shows anywhere between 20-30 per cent of seniors fall one or more times each year. Falls cause 85 per cent of seniors' injury-related hospitalizations.

The falls lead to almost all hip fractures in seniors and it's estimated that can result in about $2 billion a year spent in health care costs.

“These programs like STAND UP! promote them to stay fit and also gives them advice," said Bruce-Payne.

The health unit is looking for older adults with experience in exercise classes to become facilitators so the program can be expanded to other areas.

Interested individuals are encouraged to reach out to the following agencies to learn more about the classes occurring in their communities:

- Victorian Order of Nurses North Bay: 1-800-265-5379

- East Parry Sound Community Support Services: 705-724-6028

- West Parry Sound Community Support Services: 705-746-5602

- West Nipissing Community Health Centre: 705-753-0151

- Mattawa: 1-800-563-2808, ext. 5215 Top Stories

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