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A Community-Based Initiative

THE FALLS PREVENTION INITIATIVE


From 2000-2004, Health Canada (HC) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) established a community-based health promotion initiative to help identify effective strategies to prevent falls in the community among veterans and seniors. VAC committed $10 million over a four-year period, from April 1, 2000 to March 31, 2004. The Initiative was piloted in three Regions-Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Ontario and at the national level. The goals of the initiative were to:
• Advance understanding and knowledge of effective falls prevention interventions directed to veterans and seniors;
• Build capacity of communities to develop and deliver health promotion programming addressing falls prevention; and
• Strengthen the capacity within HC and VAC to deliver health promotion programming to older Canadians.
Over the life of the initiative, a total of 40 projects were supported, on a wide range of falls prevention topics. Project sponsors included: Universities, Royal Canadian Legions, Seniors Centres, Health Authorities, NGO, etc. The Royal Canadian Legion contributed to twelve falls prevention projects across Canada from 2002-2004. These funded projects were successful in developing knowledge, fostering partnerships and building capacity. The initiative helped to identify a number of promising falls prevention interventions/models, which were appropriate for the needs of participating communities and the available resources. This initiative was effective in raising awareness for both fall prevention approaches and the importance of using assistive devices. It also contributed to the Government of Canada’s ongoing work on injury prevention (e.g. validation of the safety checklist for seniors in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Safe Living Guide).
Seniors’ falls are a serious public health issue and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is committed to helping seniors lead healthy, active lives. PHAC advances several issues that are important to Canada’s aging population, including reducing risks and preventing injuries in seniors. PHAC raises public awareness of the risk factors that contribute to falls and how to prevent them and improving the availability of data to inform public health decision-making. PHAC’s resources related to aging and seniors can be accessed at the following link: www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/seniors-aines/index-eng.php These publications are also available to order free of charge through 1-800-O-Canada

THE ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION
Ontario Command
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Aurora, ON, L4G 4C4

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