Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, at Tan Tock Seng Hospital Falls Awareness Day, 16 July 2016

Dr Koh Poh Koon

Minister for State for National Development and Trade & Industry, Grassroots Advisor for Yio Chu Kang CC

Dr Eugene Soh

CEO, Tan Tock Seng Hospital

A/Prof Chin Jing Jih

Divisional Chairman, Integrative and Community Care,

Tan Tock Seng Hospital

Ladies and Gentlemen

            Good morning. I am delighted to join you this morning at the Falls Awareness Day organised by Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Falls are Preventable

2          The event today fits well with the national Falls Prevention Awareness Campaign that the Health Promotion Board launched last week.

3         Why is preventing falls important? Falls are quite common among seniors, every year about 8,000 seniors fall and get admitted to hospitals. Having a bad fall can mean serious injury, disability or even death.  Hip fractures as a result of falls, in particular, can lead to reduced mobility and a poorer quality of life. Last year, about 2,000 seniors were admitted into hospitals due to hip fractures. In 2014, about half of all trauma deaths were seniors aged 65 and above, and about 75% of these deaths were from falls.   

4          This campaign is to help us bring a few important messages to the public. First, it is important to be aware and actively prevent falls. Second, falls is not a “normal” part of ageing. Falls are preventable. Third, preventing falls can be simple.

5          There are five simple tips that seniors can do to prevent falls. First, exercise regularly. By taking part in exercises such as Taichi, we can improve on our balance and prevent falls. Second, we should keep our bones strong by taking in foods such as green vegetables and sardines that are rich in calcium. Third, we should go for regular eye checks to ensure good vision. Fourth, we should wear well-fitting, non-slip shoes to reduce the risk of falls in public places. Fifth, as 63% of falls in seniors tend to occur at home, we should keep our homes safe and neat. These simple tips can be easily adopted to prevent falls. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has also created a series of materials such as a Falls Prevention Educational Video and Falls Prevention Guides to help both our seniors as well as their caregivers better understand these tips and be empowered to prevent falls. These materials are available online [www.HealthyAgeing.sg]. 

Multiplying Falls Prevention Awareness

6          On this note, I am encouraged that the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has joined us in this national movement to raise awareness on falls prevention. The theme chosen for this year ‘Falls Prevention Beyond Generations’, signals how the community of healthcare professionals and people of all ages can come together to spread the key messages on falls prevention.

7          As a community, we can contribute towards preventing falls by sharing the five simple tips with our seniors and encouraging them to adopt some of these tips. TTSH’s doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and dietitians are here to share health tips with us, especially seniors in reducing the risk of falls.

CONCLUSION

8          In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank TTSH for promoting this meaningful event. TTSH also managed to get Ang Mo Kio Primary School and Ang Mo Kio Secondary School to participate in the very first Falls Prevention Poster Competition and I thank the schools for the active participation in ‘Falls Prevention Beyond Generations’. 

9          Thank you and have an enjoyable day ahead.

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