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Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors. In Canada, it is estimated that 20-30% of seniors experience one or more falls each year. This is alarming because injuries sustained from these falls sometimes lead to death.


The risk of falls gets higher after hospital discharge. According to one study, it has been found that seniors have "over twice the risk of sustaining a hip fracture after hospitalization, especially in the month after discharge and around one-third experience functional decline compared to their pre-admission level of activities of daily living." Fall intervention, then, is very important. This intervention includes exercises, vitamin supplementation and education.


Seniors who have been hospitalized for a period of time may have a fear of falling which makes them hesitant to perform exercises designed to help them regain balance and control. This can be a vicious cycle because fear of falling leads to inactivity and inactivity leads to poor balance which then may lead to falling.


So, how can falls be prevented among seniors who were newly discharged from the hospital?


One of the crucial things that needs to be considered when preventing falls among these seniors is physical therapy. According to an article published by the ACP Hospitalist, in-home physical therapy needs to be coordinated before a senior is discharged from the hospital. It further states, "teamwork among hospitalists, geriatricians, nurses, physical therapists and other providers is an essential component of the fall prevention effort." Effective communication among these care providers is very important in implementing a plan for the patient.


Education is also an important part of the whole process of preventing falls among seniors after hospital discharge. A study found that when patients were educated about the risks of falls, they were more motivated to participate in strategies to minimize them. Physiotherapists and kinesiologists have the knowledge and expertise to educate the patients about this topic.


There is no single fall prevention strategy that fits all seniors. Physiotherapists and kinesiologists know that the strategies that need to be implemented have to be designed for the specific needs of the patient. Here is where effective risk assessment parameters prove invaluable. There are screening parameters that are used to determine the best fall prevention exercises for the patient.


With good communication among care providers and effective patient education, fall prevention in seniors who were discharged from the hospital can be done successfully.


We conduct workshops and seminars for patients and nurses in care homes about fall prevention. Please contact us for more information at info@myhomerehab.ca or call 604-338-4912.


We find that among the most challenging patients we have to deal with are those suffering from dementia. Because they have lost most of their memory, comprehension, thinking and judgment, issues such as frequent cancellations and uncooperative attitude arise. It is very difficult for a therapist to implement a regular exercise regimen when the patient has fluctuating moods. Most often than not, sessions are either cancelled or unproductive.


But, in our years of experience dealing with seniors who have dementia, we have learned what is needed to be successful in helping them achieve their goals.


Be compassionate. Seniors experiencing gradual loss of control may feel defensive or combative. Therapists should make them feel that they are still in control as to what exercises they can participate in or when they should be done. Being compassionate means feeling what they are feeling.


Be flexible. It can be disappointing when the exercise regimen the therapist prepared is not followed. When this happens, flexibility is the key. A good therapist knows how to adapt exercises to the current situation of the patient. However, no matter how creative a therapist is, a patient with dementia can still get irritated and aggressive. In such cases, stopping the therapy is the best thing to do. Our philosophy is "healing comes from within." So, if the patient is no longer cooperative or has decided to stop therapy, we believe it is better to respect the patient's wishes. Therefore, we do our best to educate the patient and the family regarding this matter. It may be that the patient needs a companion rather than a therapist. The companion can, then, encourage the patient to walk which will also help maintain mobility.


Communicate regularly with the patient's caregivers. Open communication is the key in making any treatment for dementia patients successful. It has to be a team effort. Be clear about the care plan and the challenges being faced in implementing it.


These are just some of the things that a therapist should bear in mind when helping seniors with dementia. It can be challenging to deal with dementia patients but it can also be rewarding seeing them improve in their physical well-being inspite of having cognitive impairment.


We are committed to doing our best in helping seniors suffering from dementia and we have skilled therapists who have lots of experience in this.


To inquire about our services, please call 604-338-4912 or email info@myhomerehab.ca.



Seniors know that exercise is important for them to maintain their strength and mobility. But, many of them lack the motivation to exercise. There are many reasons why a senior may not be motivated, such as physical symptoms (joint pain, dizziness, stomach ache, etc), mental health issues (depression, dementia, etc), and lack of assistance.

Our experience with seniors shows that most seniors lack the motivation to exercise because they no longer see the value in making themselves strong and healthy. A senior may have lost a spouse and the resulting depression can weaken their resolve to continue living an active and meaningful life. Others may have been discouraged by frequent illness or hospitalization. During this pandemic, loss of visits from loved ones can have a negative impact on their motivation to be active too.

What we have learned in helping seniors exercise is that we should be creative. We have to appeal to their interests and their emotions. So, the key here is to ask a lot of questions. By asking questions, we are able to discern what makes them happy.

Here are some of the motivators we have used with our senior clients:

  • Making loved ones happy such as children or grandchildren

  • Staying independent and not in assisted living

  • Fear of ending up in a wheelchair

  • Performing activities similar to sports or hobbies they used to enjoy

Of course, each day may be different. What may appeal to them now may not be true for the next session. So, as therapists, we are always sensitive to what our senior clients feel at that moment or what is on their minds. We make it a point to talk to them and listen to what they say.


We believe that it takes extra effort to be successful in motivating seniors to exercise. It takes a lot of patience, creativity and genuine care. It is also a continuous learning process because it takes time to be able to know what can really motivate a senior to move and stay active. It may be a lot of work but the rewards are many.



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