News and Events

Wellington County Safe Communities Falls Action Group is working to raise awareness on steps you can take to reduce your risk of a fall. When watching television, avoiding a fall seems easy, with the advice of “just don’t fall”. Regardless of how educated you are about falls prevention, how good your balance is or how strong your muscles are, you can still experience a fall. When a senior, who is in good physical condition, falls, the impact of that fall is often reduced, and they are able to remain independent. Falls are the #1 cause of injuries to seniors. The fear of falling is real and can make seniors less confident and result in a reduction in their physical activity levels. As a result, their gait and balance deteriorate. This puts them at an increased risk of falling; which is exactly what they were trying to avoid in the first place. It is important to keep moving and to exercise.

Being self sufficient and staying in your home for longer is also a goal older adults have, so ensuring their homes and common spaces outside their homes need to be safe.   

  • Making sure that walks are shovelled and salted (Ask for help if you need to)
  • Make sure your boots are appropriate for the weather.
  • Use sock aids and other assistive devices within your home to help with every day mobility
  • Remove unnecessary clutter and rugs
  • Install handrails, toilet seat lifts, etc., and speak with your physician about cost savings when purchasing items.

Ernie Read. A 90-year-old resident of Mount Forest, participates in the Boosting Balance Program offered by the Mount Forest Family Health Team. He has been attending the weekly group since 2018 and feels that it has had a positive impact on his mobility and balance. Ernie had a fall three months ago, luckily, he was able to get up independently and was not injured. He attributes this positive outcome to exercising regularly – he attends Boosting Balance weekly and also enjoys walking outside with his walking poles. Ernie would also like to encourage those who are exercising alone to always wear a whistle as it is an inexpensive way to attract attention if help is needed.

Seniors in Wellington County are lucky to have access to the VON SMART exercise program. This exercise program is FREE. Kelly Gee, VON SMART Exercise Coordinator, and member of the Safe Communities Wellington County Falls Action Group, says “Exercise is the universal prescription to pretty much everything! Frailty is not inevitable, in fact, it is reversible. It is never too late to start exercising.”

Sue Hodgson, a participant of the VON SMART exercise program shares her fall story. While out with a friend at a restaurant, a hot beverage was overturned. In an effort to get out of the way, Sue quickly moved away from the table forgetting the step to their booth, and fell. This fall could have resulted in a life changing injury, but Sue who has been attending the SMART exercise program 2-3 times per week was able to walk away with her independence intact. Sue’s fitness level contributed to her resilience to injury and she was right back exercising the very next day. Exercise increases bone density, reducing the risk of a fracture.

Join us on February 23, 2024 at The Centre Wellington Sportsplex for the Victoria Park Seniors Centre’s Active Living Show.  Be sure to stop by the booth to grab some goodies and learn how you can stay safe at home and in your community!

Learn how to focus on promoting young people’s strengths!

Safe Communities Wellington County has been partnering with Lions Clubs of Canada and Lions Quest Canada to bring an amazing workshop to Wellington County. Already, we have brought together organizations and over 100 people across Wellington County to learn the 40 Problem Solving Skills Young People Need to Succeed.

This workshop will help you promote self reliance, independence, and ultimately, success in life for the young people in your life.

Workshop Highlights & Agenda:

  • Understand the “Ripple Effect” and identify where you can do your part
  • Commit to making a difference
  • Learn how your simple, everyday actions can have an impact
  • Shift from focusing on young people’s problems to promoting their strengths

Our next workshop will take place in Centre Wellington on March 23, 2024, followed by a workshop on June 15, 2024 in Puslinch. 

This is a Community Development Opportunity Facilitated by:

Lions Quest Canada – www.lionsquest.ca

Wellington County, October 5, 2023 – Safe Communities Wellington County (SCWC) held its 3rd virtual Safe Communities Day on October 5, 2023.  Six hundred & fifty grade 5 students from across Wellington County attended Safe Communities Day.

This year Safe Communities Day had videos courtesy of :

  • Wellington County OPP
  • Fire Services
  • Centre Wellington Aquatics
  • Wellington County Emergency Management
  • Grand River Conservation Authority
  • Falls Prevention Action Group

Thank you to all of the organizations who make Safe Communities Day possible. You come out to educate the students year after year and help the students become Safety Ambassadors!

Thank you to all of the Principles and Teachers who registered your schools and attended Safe Communities Day 2023! We are looking forward to hosting even more students in 2024!

Wellington County, October 2023 – Drug-impaired driving among teens is a major concern. A ten-year trend shows one in four teens who died in a motor vehicle crash tested positive for cannabis. Safe Communities Wellington County partnered with Parachute for National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW), to create positive behaviour changes to reduce injury rates among teens.

Parachute National Teen Driver Safety Week is an annual public awareness campaign. This year, impaired driving is the primary focus; and messaging to teens will also address distracted, and aggressive driving, including speeding. 

Some key facts:

  • Some teens believe using cannabis would make them a better driver – This is false!
  • Speeding is a factor in one third of teen driver deaths
  • Distracted driving is a factor in 15-19 per cent of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers
  • According to a recent survey, 96 per cent of Canadian drivers would stop driving distracted, if a passenger asked them to

“Young people make up just 12 per cent of licensed drivers, but account for about 20 per cent of all road-related injuries and deaths,” says Christine Veit, Program Coordinator, Safe Communities Wellington County. “Through NTDSW and community initiatives like our Positive Ticketing Blitz, we are encouraging young drivers to think about risks and responsibility, and why they should choose to make safety their no.1 priority.”

We visited 3 Wellington County High Schools this year and intend on expanding to include John F. Ross, Centennial Vocational Institute, Bishop MacDonnell, and St. James for 2024. 

This series promotes education and awareness about Opioids and Mental Health.

Kitchen Table Talk – Opioids 101

During this Kitchen Table Talk, attendees have the opportunity to learn about opioid and naloxone truths from frontline workers and people with lived experience. This Table Talk is in cooperation with Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy.

Naloxone Training & kits will be provided. If you are interested in bringing this Kitchen Table Talk Series to your community within Wellington County, please contact [email protected].

Kitchen Table Talk – Mental Health

Partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association and The Suicide Awareness Council of Guelph Wellington, Safe Communities Wellington County’s Intentional Self Harm Group has created a Kitchen Table Talk on Mental Health. Real People – Their Stories – Creating Conversation Around Mental Health and Well Being through Guided Discussions. Our Spring Kitchen Table Talk focused on Death by Suicide and Sucide Attempt Survivors and the impact & journey’s people have taken afterward.

A Spring Kitchen Table Talk is being planned for the Spring in Wellington North.

Parachute Safe Kids Week, brought to Wellington County by Safe Communities Wellington County, is an annual campaign to raise public awareness of child safety issues, and encouraging community involvement as part of the solution.

Parachute Safe Kids Week 2023 took place May 29 to June 4, with hundreds of communities holding events across Canada. The messaging focused on the topic of Kids in the Right Seat.

Car crashes are a leading cause of death and injury to children in Canada.  Children are well protected and less likely to be severely injured when the right car seat, booster seat or seat belt is used on every ride.

Victoria Park Field – Information Table – Thursday, June 2, 2023 – 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

 

Safe Communities Wellington County is hard at work in the first place. It is important to keep moving and to exercise.

Ernie Read. A 90-year-old resident of Mount Forest, participates in the Boosting Balance Program offered by the Mount Forest Family Health Team. He has been attending the weekly group since 2018 and feels that it has had a positive impact on his mobility and balance. Ernie had a fall three months ago, luckily, he was able to get up independently and was not injured. He attributes this positive outcome to exercising regularly – he attends Boosting Balance weekly and also enjoys walking outside with his walking poles. Ernie would also like to encourage those who are exercising alone to always wear a whistle as it is an inexpensive way to attract attention if help is needed.

Seniors in Wellington County are lucky to have access to the VON SMART exercise program. This exercise program is FREE. Kelly Gee, VON SMART Exercise Coordinator, and member of the Safe Communities Wellington County Falls Action Group, says “Exercise is the universal prescription to pretty much everything! Frailty is not inevitable, in fact, it is reversible. It is never too late to start exercising.”

Sue Hodgson, a participant of the VON SMART exercise program shares her fall story. While out with a friend at a restaurant, a hot beverage was overturned. In an effort to get out of the way, Sue quickly moved away from the table forgetting the step to their booth, and fell. This fall could have resulted in a life changing injury, but Sue who has been attending the SMART exercise program 2-3 times per week was able to walk away with her independence intact. Sue’s fitness level contributed to her resilience to injury and she was right back exercising the very next day. Exercise increases bone density, reducing the risk of a fracture.

For up to the minute updates

What is Wellington County Doing?

Through a partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), CMHA clinicians are working alongside Police Officers to assist in real-time with, calls involving those in crisis. The Program is called IMPACT (Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team). 2017 saw a record number of requests for service. In total, 586 calls were received with 431 individuals being served through the program. Clinicians attended a total of 289 live calls with police with 207 individuals not requiring a trip to an Emergency Department. Individuals were instead connected with services and supports that could better serve their needs. This is an extraordinary 73% diversion rate which permits the reinvestment of health, paramedic, and police services to address other important tasks.

GOOD NEWS FROM IMPACT

A camp serving people with disabilities called to say a camper was having behaviours that could pose risk or harm to other campers, staff and themselves. This camper also had significant medical issues that could be complicated by emergency service intervention. The officer responding asked IMPACT to assist in coordinating a response. IMPACT called the campers parents, who advised that the individual could not be returned home and the individual did not have a home address to return to due to his very complex needs. IMPACT learned that the camper had recently been in a hospital unit for medical needs. The hospital was called and IMPACT was advised that the camper could indeed return to their facility. Police and IMPACT together coordinated with EMS to transport the individual to the hospital already familiar with them. IMPACT attended the camp and the camper was calmly taken by ambulance back to the hospital where their needs could be met and risk could be managed. Police stood-by in case of violence, and all was accomplished in a very safe, supportive way, with the individual agreeing to each step of the plan.

Falls are the No. 1 reason for injury-related death, hospitalization and emergency department visits for older adults in Canada. Falls among older adults cost $5.6 billion in 2018 – nearly 20 per cent of the total cost of injury in Canada.

According to Parachute Canada, the following are the most effective steps you can take to prevent a fall, as assessed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Finding Balance, a program for older adults and caregivers created by the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta.

 
An elderly father with a walker, adult son and grandson out for a walk in the park
  • Exercise: challenge your balance and build strength.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Take your time: don’t rush when walking or getting up.
  • Balance your body through good nutrition and hydration.
  • Get your sight and hearing checked regularly.
  • Manage your medications and review them regularly with your pharmacist or doctor as some may make you prone to dizziness and falling.
  • Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes.
  • Consider using a cane or other mobility device if needed.
  • Maintain proper use of eyeglasses and hearing aids.