Safe Communities Humboldt holds symposium on senior safety

HUMBOLDT — Fraud prevention, drug interaction and falls, senior abuse, the hazards of sitting, and motorized scooter safety were among the topics discussed at the 2020 Senior Symposium in Humboldt.

The symposium was intended for seniors, but families, caregivers and professionals were invited to attend the virtual sessions.

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“November is falls prevention month, so the falls aspect is certainly a focus for us, and that’s important information for individuals of any age, particularly seniors who are out and about,” said Shari Hinz, executive director for Safe Communities Humboldt and Area.

“Falls contribute to the highest number of hospitalizations and in particular people of age 65 and older are subject to a higher risk of injury if they do happen to fall and falls at that age could be life altering and changing.”

Hinz explained a sedentary lifestyle with little exercise contributes to risk of falling, so maintaining some sort of physical exercise is best, whether it’s simply walking or doing individual exercises.

“Yoga, those types of things are all positive ways to stay active and help improve balance and things of that nature and improve strength that help prevent falls.”

Another safety aspect that was discussed is how specific medications may actually contribute to the risk of falls.

“Having conversations with your pharmacists, being aware of which medications could put an individual at risk of falls,” Hinz said. “Simply the addition of a dietary supplement could create a chemical situation with different medications could contribute to the risk of falling.”

Other tips involved removing clutter from the home, such as scatter rugs, cords and furniture in the way.

“Putting up something as simple as a nightlight, if you have to get up in the middle of the night then you got a little bit of light to guide yourself.”

The free symposium was delivered virtually from Nov. 17 to 20, with all residents of The Elizabeth participating over a large screen displayed in the facility.

Originally, it was planned to have the symposium held in-person at The Elizabeth, but Hinz said the pandemic made that impossible.

“We had to change gears there when the restrictions started to increase, and definitely with respect to visitors to long-term care facilities,” Hinz said.

“They have the great theatre setup in the Rosewood room in their facility, so that allowed all of the residents to gather safely within their facility and attend the sessions via Zoom. So that worked out really well.”

This symposium was conducted by Safe Communities Humboldt & Area in conjunction with The Elizabeth, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Humboldt RCMP, and Pharmasave Humboldt.

This free event was funded in part by the Community Initiatives Fund.

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