Quick Facts

Quick Facts

Get quick facts on healthy joints, healthy bones, falls and injury prevention, health promoting behaviours, healthy built environments and more.

In the Netherlands, cycling mode share is common across the lifespan, with those aged 65 and older making approximately 25% of their trips by bicycle.

CHHM's Active Street Active People Team study cycling and older adults

They found that one of the major challenges facing the frowing population of older adults in Canada is a decline in mobility. Physcial activity from an active lifestyle (e.g. walking, bicycling) has a protective effect on future decline in mobility.

Bicycling for everyday trips such as errands and social outing is an affordable and sustainable way to build activity into daily routines. Moreover, bicycling for transportation can support independent travel when driving becomes a less feasible option with age.

Unfortunately, evidence suggests that older adults do not often bicycle, at least

not in North America. In the Metro Vancouver, cycling mode share was a mere 0.5% for those aged 56 - 79, and 0.2% for those 80+. Yet data from other cities with similar climates and cultres suggest regular cycling is both possible and popular amongst older adults. In Netherlands, cycling mode share is common across the lifespan with those aged 65 and older making approximately 25% of their trips by bicycle. Given this gap, it is of interest to understand determinants of cycling behaviours in older adults.

Meghan Winters, Joanie Sims-Gould, Thea Franke, Suzanne Therrien, and Heather MacKay study cycling and older adults.

Read more about their study and key findings about cycling and older adults in North America.

Active Streets, Active People: interdisciplinary research team (UBC/SFU/VCHRI) – neighbourhood design / lifespan health & mobility / knowledge translation / fun. Read their blog.

The fall related hospitalization rate for Residential Care was 3.6 times higher than the hospitalization rate for falls occurring outside residential care.

1 in 5 non residential care patients were transferring into a residential care facility after being hospitalized for a fall.

Almost 60% of the Alternate Level of Care (ALC) days related to hospitalization for an unintentional fall are for seniors waiting to be transferred into residential care.

Source: Fall-related hospitalizations in Seniors, and Discharge Abstract Database 2007 / 2008, Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)

In Canada each year, there are over 25,000 fall-related fractures at the hip with significant personal and societal consequences.

Within 12 months of fracturing a hip, many people do not regain their previous levels of mobility. The decreased mobility leads to muscle weakness and an increased risk of falling; this combined with poor bone health can contribute to the risk of additional fractures.

Learn more about how CHHM is working to improve the health of vulnerable seniors.

Within 12 months of fracturing a hip many people do not regain their previous level of mobility.

Decreased mobility after a hip fracture leads to muscle weakness and an increased risk of falling. This combined with poor bone health can contribute to the risk of additional fractures. Consequently, understanding both falls risk factors and bone health are vital if we aim to improve outcomes and reduce injurty after hip fracture.

CHHM's V4 Clinic aims to Mobilize evidence into action to improve health outcomes of vulnerable seniors.

Learn more about their work.

Mobility limitation, defined as difficulty walking 2-3 blocks or climbing 10 steps, affects nearly 30% of community-dwelling older adults and has a profound impact on independent functioning.

Emerging evidence suggests that mobility limitation may result from high energy requirements during walking, which may also lead to high levels of fatigue during walking and activity restriction to avoid fatigue.

Targeted excercise may be able to reduce the energy requirements of walking thereby reducing fatigue and increasing daily activity.

The Healthy Steps team will evaluate the effect of three different 12-week exercise programs on walking in older adults. The exercise programs include:

1) Outdoor walking
2) Stretching and relaxation techniques
3) Stepping and walking pattern practice

The HealthySteps team will assess participants before beginning their program, immediately after their program ends, and three months later. All exercise programs and assessments will occur on site at CHHM, led by certified instructors and trained research staff.

Read more about this HealthySteps Study.

The World Health Organization predicts that unintentional injuries arising from road traffic incidents will rise to take third place in the rank order of international disease burden by the year 2030.

Drill cover in use during an orthopaedic surgery in Mulago, Uganda. Photo by Thomas O'Hara

A drill cover developed at CHHM by a group of Engineers in Scrubs offers a practical and economical solution to the orthopaedic surgeries that are often required after traffic accidents.

Learn more about the work of UBC's Orthopaedic and Injury Biomechanics Group.

Learn more about the significant needs the Drill Cover is addressing.

Research shows that 50 per cent of falls can be reduced through strength and balance training.

Falls often mark the beginning of a deadly downward spiral in the health of seniors. Tripping over a rug, falling down stairs or slipping on ice can lead to broken hips, serious head injuries and numerous other health problems that can immobilize the elderly and hasten their deaths.

Nearly all people age 65 and older will fall at least once a year. Thousands die from the injuries, while countless others languish in hospitals or nursing homes, where the lack of mobility puts them at risk of developing pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications. Falls cost the health-care system nearly $3-billion every year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Read an article about CHHM's researchers, Drs. Vicky Scott and Karim Khan by Carly Weeks from the Globe and Mail.

Falls in hospital increase length of stay regardless of degree of harm

A study by Dr. Maureen Ashe et. al. reveals that the average length of stay for patients who experiences an in-hospital fall was 37.2 days d[median 26.5 days; interquartile range (IQR) 14, 54] and 25.7 days (median 13 days; IQR 5, 33) for matched control patients. 

Read Dr. Ashe's study from the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Hip fractures befall 4,000 British Columbians every year

  • Seniors who have had one fall are at twice the risk for future falls.
  • 30% of individuals aged 65 years and over experience at least one fall each year.
  • 95% of hip fractures are due to falls.
  • Each year, falls directly cost our province $200 million.
  • A comprehensive falls risk assessment is not practical during a regular doctor’s appointment.

To learn more visit the Falls Prevention Clinic website, a joint initiative between CHHM, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and UBC.