Healthy Aging

The Brant County Health Unit helps adults, seniors, and their caregivers by connecting them to community programs, services, and information on Healthy Aging.

Today, Canadians are living longer and with fewer health problems than previous generations. Advancements in medicine have contributed to longevity, but it is important to understand how older adults can achieve a better quality of life as they age.

For more information on Healthy Aging, visit the links below.

Falls affect Ontarians of all ages and can occur in any setting including at home, in the playground, at the store, and at the hospital.

In Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older adults. Between 20-30% of older adults fall each year.

A fall can have a devastating and lasting impact on a person, resulting in injury, chronic pain and a reduced quality of life. The good news is that there are actions you can take to prevent falls.

Falling is not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing falls including older adults, caregivers, family members, and friends.

Below are some steps that can help older adults prevent falls:

Take care of yourself

  • Exercise regularly to improve your strength, muscle tone, and balance. Walk if you can. Swimming may be a good choice, if you cannot walk easily.
  • Have your vision and hearing checked each year or any time you notice a change.
  • Know the side effects of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether the medicines you take can affect your balance.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol can impair your balance and other senses.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have numbness in your feet you feel dizzy, faint or unsteady.
  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. You may get dizzy if you do not drink enough water.  Choose water and other clear liquids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.

Preventing falls at home

Half of the falls causing hospital stays happen at home. You can take steps to make your home safer.

  • Remove raised doorway thresholds, throw rugs, and clutter. Repair loose carpet or raised areas in the floor.
  • Move furniture and electrical cords to keep them out of walking paths.
  • If you use a walker or cane, put rubber tips on it. If you use crutches, clean the bottoms of them regularly with an abrasive pad, such as steel wool.
  • Keep your house well lit, especially stairways, porches, and outside walkways. Use night-lights in areas such as hallways and washrooms.
  • Install sturdy handrails on stairways.
  • Move items in your cabinets so that the things you use a lot are on the lower shelves (about waist level).
  • Wear low-heeled shoes that fit well and give your feet good support. Use footwear with non-skid soles. Check the heels and soles of your shoes for wear. Repair or replace worn heels or soles.
  • Do not wear socks without shoes on smooth floors, such as wood.
  • Walk on the grass when the sidewalks are slippery. If you live in an area that gets snow and ice in the winter, sprinkle salt on slippery steps and sidewalks. Or ask a family member or friend to do this for you.

Social connections, including connections with our extended family, are an important part of healthy, aging. Those with strong social networks are more active, feel happier, and are more supported.

People without strong social networks may become isolated. Social isolation can lead to reduced mental and physical health, as well as depression. When older people participate in their communities, everyone benefits.

Here’s some ways older adults can stay connected with those around them:

  • Find an activity that you enjoy, restart an old hobby, or take a class to learn something new. You might have fun and meet people with similar interests.
  • Schedule time each day to stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors in person, by email, social media, voice call, or text. Talk with people you trust and share your feelings. Suggest an activity to help nurture and strengthen existing relationships. Sending letters or cards is another good way to keep up friendships.
  • Use communication technologies such as video chat
  • If you’re not tech-savvy, sign up for an online or in-person class at your local public library or community centre to help you learn how to use email or social media.
  • Stay physically active and include group exercise, such as joining a walking club or working out with a friend. Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of activity a week that makes you breathe hard.
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors.
  • Join a cause and get involved in your community.

Healthy eating is a key part of aging well. It is a way for you to stay healthy and strong, which is important to maintain your independence and quality of life.

Healthy eating can help:

  • promote and protect health and well-being
  • provide energy and essential nutrients to maintain health
  • prevent or lower the risk of chronic diseases like:
    • heart disease
    • type 2 diabetes
  • prevent muscle and bone loss to reduce your risk of falling or breaking your bones

As you age, you face different changes that may make:

  • healthy eating seem more challenging
  • you not feel as hungry or interested in food

Cooking and eating healthy food does not have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive. Consider the ideas in Canada’s Food Guide to help you maintain healthy eating habits as you age.

Taking part in regular physical activity is key to improving wellness for older adults. It is one of the core ways to help improve and maintain independence and overall health and well-being.

Older Adults who are physically active have:

  • Lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type two diabetes
  • Lower risk of falling and better cognitive function
  • Improved balance, strength, and flexibility
  • Lower rates of colon and breast cancers

Tips to help you get active

  • Find an activity you like such as swimming or cycling.
  • Minutes count — increase your activity level 10 minutes at a time. Every little bit helps.
  • Active time can be social time — look for group activities or classes in your community, or get your family or friends to be active with you.
  • Walk wherever and whenever you can.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible.
  • Carry your groceries home.
  • Start slowly
  • Listen to your body
  • Every step counts

Older adults need to prioritize vaccinations for many important reasons. As we age, our immune systems don’t respond as well, so it is important that we stay up to date with recommended vaccines, including boosters for enhanced protection.

There are also some vaccine-preventable diseases that are particularly prevalent and serious in older adults, such as shingles and influenza (flu).

Talk with a doctor or pharmacist about which of the following vaccines you need. Make sure to protect yourself as much as possible by keeping your vaccinations up to date. Visit our immunization page for information about vaccines.

Alcohol and Drugs

Assistive Devices

Bone Health

Caregiver Support

Dementia

Fall Recovery

Hearing

Healthy Eating

Home Renovation/Safety

Immunization

Infection Control

Medical Conditions

    • Fall prevention workshops

Medication

  • MedCheck (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)
    • Free pharmacist consultation for medication safety

Mental Health 

Physical Activity

Preventing Falls

Tobacco

RESOURCES

  • 211
    • Free and confidential
    • Services available in many languages
    • Available 24 hours, seven days a week
    • Dial 211 from any Brant-area phone
  • Brant County Health Unit Sexual Health Clinic
  • Home and Community Support Services
    • Free and confidential
    • Services available in many languages
    • Available every day from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
    • Dial: 310-CCAC (2222) (no area code required)
    • E-mail support also available
  • Grand River Council on Aging 
  • Seniors Resource Centre
    • Free assistance for filling out government forms, among other services
    • Directories of local senior programs and services
    • Available Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    • Dial 519-309-0032
    • E-mail support also available
    • Visit in person at 783 Colborne St. E, Unit A2, Brantford, Ontario N3S 7J and on Wednesday’s from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Syl Apps Community Centre, 51 William Street, Paris.