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Mobility Aids as a Falls Risk Factor for People Living with Dementia
Approximately 600,000 Canadians currently have a dementia diagnosis and that number is expected to double in the next 15 years. Cognitive deficits and balance and gait disorders are inevitable and progressive in dementia. Importantly, people with dementia have an annual fall risk of 60-80%, twice that of the cognitively healthy, and have a higher risk of major fall-related injuries, such as hip fractures. Fall prevention is important to improve quality of life and maintain independent mobility. Provision of a mobility aid is an intervention treatment option to compensate for balance and gait problems that also facilitates independent mobility. Yet, paradoxically mobility aid use is associated with a third fold increased odds of falling.

This will be the first of three presentations on addressing background knowledge, research and practice implications underpinning assessment and intervention to reduce falls in people living with dementia using mobility aids.

In this first presentation, the topics to be covered will be:
- epidemiology and risk factors for falls in people with dementia
- mobility aids as a falls risk factor in people with dementia

1. Understand and describe the unique features that place people living with dementia at an increased risk for falls who do not and do use a mobility aid.
2. Identify therapeutic strategies that play to the strengths of people living with dementia to facilitate success of interventions.

Feb 27, 2020 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Dr. Susan Hunter
Associate Professor, School of Physical Therapy @University of Western Ontario
Dr. Susan Hunter is an Associate Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Western Ontario. She practiced clinically as a Physical Therapist in the areas of orthopaedics and geriatrics for 19 years and then completed her PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario evaluating balance assessment to identify fall risk in community-dwelling older adults. She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine on cognition, dementia and falls and has been fully involved in research since 2010. Dr. Hunter’s research interests are the rehabilitation of geriatric patients, particularly the cognitively-impaired older adult, and their experience of falls, frailty and mobility decline. She is the Chair of the Seniors’ Health Division for the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and Vice-President of the Older Adult practice group for the World Confederation of Physical Therapists.