Healthcare professionals and community groups are meeting in Sudbury Tuesday to work on a billion dollar problem — the annual cost of treating seniors in Ontario who fall and hurt themselves.
Last year, 5,600 seniors in the northeast were taken to hospital because of a fall, and 1,200 of those patients had to be admitted for care.
"It's a big problem because it's the most common cause of injury amongst seniors," said Terry Tilleczek, the senior director for the Northeast Local Health Integration Network.
He said it’s an expensive issue that's going to get worse as the population ages.
"We are going to see a 65 per cent increase in our elderly population over the next 25 years."
'Time for us to work together'
Tuesday's forum brings together representatives from public health, Laurentian University, hospitals and community groups.
Healthy Living manager Brenda Marshall from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is one of the presenters.
"We all are offering programs, perhaps in silos, and now it's time for all of us to work together to come up with common strategies," she said.
"All across the northeastern region, we can work together on this."
Marshall said everything from ensuring people have the right winter boots to assessing a home for tripping hazards can prevent falls.
"When we look at not only the personal and health toll on seniors, but also the impact on the healthcare system as a whole, we are looking at close to a billion dollars a year is impacted on the healthcare system as a result of seniors’ falls," Tilleczek said.