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Now going into its third year, Finding Balance is an awareness campaign that aims to educate and empower

Albertans to take an active role in preventing seniors’ falls.

What is the Finding Balance campaign all about?


Finding Balance was created as a campaign to raise awareness about seniors’ falls in Alberta, and educate
seniors on the actions they can take to stay active and independent.

Campaign messages have been crafted to reflect some of the proven interventions to prevent seniors’ falls,
including:
• Exercising to build and maintain strength and balance.
• Reviewing medications with a doctor or pharmacist.
• Making homes and environments safer; for example, removing throw rugs and ensuring pathways are well-lit.
• Watching your step while walking on uneven surfaces; wearing shoes that support your feet and having your
eyes checked yearly.

Finding Balance was founded by the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research (ACICR) and the Alberta
Medical Association (AMA) in 2008, in partnership with Alberta Health and Wellness. A number of other organi-
zations have joined the founding partners in supporting the campaign financially.

An Advisory Committee was developed to provide real-world feedback and suggestions for the campaign. The
committee is comprised of seniors, seniors’ groups, provincial organizations supporting seniors’ health, health
care professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and rehabilitation specialists, and representatives
from all health zones.

Finding Balance is a multi-year program aimed at ‘well seniors’ living in the community.

What strategies does Finding Balance use?


Finding Balance employs a range of strategies to raise awareness and educate about seniors’ falls prevention.

• Brochure and poster distribution – A grand total of nearly 260,000 printed campaign materials were distributed
across Alberta in 2009, up 60% over 2008
• Television advertising – a 30 second television advertisement played on Global TV stations throughout the
province in November. The campaign received $3.23 in advertising for every dollar spent
• Media relations and events
• Support for community activities
• Gaining municipal support through official proclamations of November as Senior’s Falls Prevention Awareness
Month
• Development and evaluation research

Is Finding Balance working?


ACICR and AMA are committed to on-going evaluation of the Finding Balance campaign to ensure we are
making progress.

Here are some highlights of our achievements:


• 156 Alberta communities declared civic proclamations marking November as “Seniors Falls Prevention
Month,” up from 138 in 2008;
• The average time on www.findingbalancealberta.ca was 3:43 minutes, up from 2:25 minutes in 2008;
• More Albertans surveyed about falls in January 2010 knew that falls are the primary cause of incidents
leading to hospitalization among seniors (59% up from 43%);
• More Albertans surveyed about falls were concerned about having a bad fall (55% up from 45%);
• Three-in-five (62%) survey respondents agree that seniors need to hear more about the risk of falls and
preventative measures they can take.

Are seniors’ falls that serious?


The Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research (ACICR) has compiled research from within Alberta and
around the world to investigate the impact of seniors’ falls:

• Research shows that falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults in Alberta.
• 1 in 3 seniors in the community will experience a fall each year, while up to 50% of those in institutions will fall;
• In 2006, seniors’ fall-related injuries resulted in over 6,900 hospital admissions and 18,7000 emergency
department visits;
• In 2008, $96 million was spent on seniors’ fall-related hospital admissions. By 2031, when the majority of baby
boomers become senior citizens, the cost for seniors’ falls, if unchecked, is expected to reach $228 million – a
137% increase; and,
• These costs do not include emergency room visits, payments to physicians and physiotherapists, homecare,
medication or individual costs.

Founding Partners

Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research Alberta Medical Association

The Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research The Alberta Medical Association (AMA) represents
(ACICR) has collaborated with stakeholders to over 9,000 physicians, medical residents and medical
reduce the frequency, severity, and impact of injuries students and is the official voice of the medical
across the province since its inception in 1998. profession in Alberta.

ACICR addresses both intentional and unintentional For more than 100 years, the AMA has provided a
injuries across the lifespan. ACICR has identified the provincial perspective based on the unique experi-
following areas as priorities: ences of the physicians who serve on the front lines
of health care.
• Increased awareness of the injury issue
• Falls The Alberta Medical Association stands as an advo-
• Motor vehicle collisions cate for its physician members, providing leadership
• Suicide and support for their role in the provision of quality
health care. The AMA vision is: Patients First®.
ACICR is committed to advancing injury control in Within the AMA, the Health Issues Council is respon-
Alberta by promoting stakeholder collaboration, sible for health advocacy, undertaking projects and
capacity building and evidence-based practice in the acting as a voice for physicians collectively on clinical
field of injury control and research. or health promotion issues.

For more information, visit www.acicr.ualberta.ca. For more information, visit www.albertadoctors.org.

For more information about Finding Balance, please contact Liza Sunley, ACICR Communications Coordinator,
at 780-492-9759 or liza.sunley@ualberta.ca.