Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, at Health Promotion Board's Launch of Falls Prevention Awareness Campaign, 9 July 2016

Mr Lim Swee Say

Minister for Manpower

Grassroots Adviser to East Coast GRC GROs

Mr Lee Yi Shyan

Grassroots Adviser to East Coast GRC GROs

Ladies and Gentlemen

            Good morning. I am happy to be here at the launch of the inaugural Falls Prevention Awareness Campaign for seniors organised by the Health Promotion Board (HPB). First, I want to say a big thank you to Minister Lim Swee Say and Mr Lee Yi Shyan for hosting this launch at Bedok, and for their very strong support for MOH’s work in ageing.

A RAPIDLY AGEING SINGAPORE

2.         As we all know, Singapore’s population is ageing. The good news is that many of us are living longer. If we keep ourselves healthy, fit and happy, we do not need to fear ageing. Instead, we should feel excited that we can have many more life years to enjoy.

3.         Earlier this year, we launched the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, with over 70 initiatives, to help Singaporeans age healthily and age happily.

4.         One of them is the Seniors’ Health programme which is a series of health programmes for seniors so that we can empower our seniors to age healthily. Last year, we launched a video on seven easy exercises to encourage seniors to stay active, and earlier this year, we launched a nutrition campaign to encourage seniors to have healthy and balanced meals.

RISING INCIDENCE OF FALLS

5.         Today, we are launching a falls prevention awareness campaign. Why is this important? Many elderly have injuries and had to be admitted to hospital due to falls. In the last 3 years, about 8,000 seniors a year were admitted to our hospitals due to falls. Falls can result in hip fractures and other injuries. Last year, about 2,000 seniors were admitted to the hospitals due to hip fractures.

6.         It is important that we launch this campaign to tell seniors to be careful and make an effort to prevent falling. We want to tell their caregiver and family members too, to be aware and reduce the risks of their elderly loved ones from falling.

YOU CAN PREVENT FALLS

7.         Under the falls prevention awareness campaign, we would like to inform seniors that falling is not a part of the process of getting old. Each one of us can prevent falls, by doing 5 simple things.

8.         First, stay active and exercise regularly. Seniors can try out the 7 easy exercises anytime, anywhere, even in the comfort of their homes while watching television. These exercises can be downloaded from HPB’s Healthy Ageing website.

9.         Second, keep your bones strong by having a calcium rich diet. Seniors and caregivers can refer to the Seniors’ Nutrition Guide titled “The Recipe for Healthy Ageing”, which is also available on HPB’s Healthy Ageing website.

10.       Third, go for annual eye checks. This will ensure that seniors are not wearing glasses with the wrong prescription or suffering from any eye conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts.

11.       Fourth, keep your home safe and neat. Statistics have shown that 63% of falls among seniors happen in the home setting[1]. Simple things that we can do include having adequate lighting throughout the house, using non-slip mats and installing grab bars in the bathroom. In fact, the Housing Development Board (HDB) is here today to provide more information on the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme. This highly subsidised programme will allow seniors to make improvements to the home environment so that it is more elderly friendly.

12.       Lastly, wear well-fitting non-slip shoes. Seniors should pay attention to their foot wear as wearing shoes that are not of a suitable size may cause trips and falls.

13.       If we practice these five basic tips, we can prevent falls together!

 

 

 

[1] Falls Prevention Clinical Practice Guidelines (2015)

 

 

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