November is Fall Prevention Month

The alarming rate of population aging has created a tidal wave of physical and psychological repercussions for our at-risk seniors and overburdened healthcare system. Time to ring the bell on this dire situation.

  • According to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), falls were responsible for 21,644 deaths in Quebec between 2000 and 2019, or an average of 1,082 deaths per year.1
  • One in three people over the age of 75 falls every year, and once that happens, there is a higher probability that they will fall again within 12 months.2
  • SAFE is a website with a series of guided exercise videos targeting the four components of fitness – strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.
  • The fear of falling is a major risk factor that severely limits seniors’ activities. By helping seniors maintain lower body strength and balance, SAFE combats the chronic consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Should a fall occur, an older senior with improved muscle mass, joint flexibility and gait stability has a greater likelihood of hastening the post-fall recovery period.

MONTREAL, Nov. 15, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – CODE LiFE: The Montreal General Hospital Foundation is pleased to present the new online program SAFE (Senior Adult Fitness Exercises), an initiative piloted by Dr. José A. Morais, geriatrician of 25 years and Director of the McGill Division of Geriatric Medicine. Now available throughout Quebec, SAFE is a free website which features a series of gentle, low impact exercise videos designed for seniors. Perusing the site also reveals a host of helpful information, articles and recommendations. 

“Healthy aging and the prevention of falls is a public health issue that demands immediate attention,” says Dr. Morais. “Exercise is one of the best and simplest ways to combat the many effects of impaired mobility as well as other senior problems such as loss of autonomy, diminished mental focus, poor sleep quality and isolation. The positive effects of physical activity for older adults are boundless.”

The highs and lows of immobility and falls

Every number tells a story and these are too distressing to overlook. Falls are responsible for 85% of injury-related hospitalizations in older adults, and account for 95% of all hip fractures. What’s more, over 30% of seniors will need to be admitted to long-term care facilities after their hospital stay. All told, this adds up to a hefty $2 billion a year in direct healthcare costs across Canada.3 

“These situations are exactly what we want to avoid,” says Jean-Guy Gourdeau, President and CEO of CODE LiFE: The Montreal General Hospital Foundation. “It is vital that we find ways to help maintain seniors’ health, mobility, and independence for as long as possible. SAFE does precisely that through its curated senior-centric program.” 

This perspective was the impetus that gave SAFE its legs. The website is home-based, user friendly, visually appealing, and above all, available to everyone. To that end, no logins or passwords are required; only that all seniors and their caregivers be able to easily navigate the videos and incorporate it into their daily lives. By stacking the odds in their favour, the hope is that it translates to an ongoing commitment to the exercises and their own wellbeing.

SAFE is built on the universal foundation of the four pillars of exercise and fitness:

  • Strength: Builds muscle in hips, ankles, and knees to make daily activities easier.
  • Balance: Improves coordination and stability and helps lessen the anxiety about falling
  • Flexibility: Relieves stiff joints and increases range of motion.
  • Endurance: Boosts stamina by increasing heart and lung health.

SAFE’s mission earns the backing of likeminded supporters

Bridging the gap between life-altering initiatives and funding opportunities is a priority at the Foundation. When allied with advocates who share a same community vision, these programs can then become a reality. “We have been truly fortunate to partner with the Grace Dart Foundation and Scotiabank whose generosity and support have made the development of SAFE possible,” says Mr. Gourdeau.

According to Elise Nesbitt, Chair of the Grace Dart Foundation “When we were first approached, we were immediately on board. Our efforts revolve around the improved wellbeing of our elderly and this program perfectly aligns with that goal. Keeping them out of emergency rooms, free from pain and arduous rehabilitation is so important.”

“Scotiabank is proud to partner with the Montreal General Hospital foundation to support SAFE’s mission to reduce the risk of serious falls amongst seniors,” said Genevieve Brouillard, Senior Vice President, Quebec and Eastern Ontario at Scotiabank. “The COVID pandemic has served to highlight how vulnerable many seniors are, with isolation and a sedentary lifestyle working hand-in-hand to heighten their health risks. We are committed to supporting accessible and long-term healthcare options for seniors that enable them to live a stronger, healthier life.”

It is never too late to start exercising. This program allows our valued seniors to embrace exercise at their own pace and move towards better health and a better quality of life.

About SAFE

SAFE is a comprehensive website intended to improve seniors’ overall quality of life and help to prevent falls. It is a user-friendly tool that gives aging adults with mobility issues, and their caregivers, a viable option to incorporate a home-based exercise program into their daily lives as well as provide timely information and resources regarding their health and well-being. Through a series of low impact videos, this FREE resource is divided into 4 modifiable levels with 5 categories each – warm up, strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. Based on years of research and primary patient care, it focuses on the physical and psychological benefits of exercise on older seniors. Please visit us at

About CODE LiFE: The Montreal General Hospital Foundation

CODE LiFE: The Montreal General Hospital Foundation’s mission is to provide vital support for vital care at the Montreal General Hospital, the McGill University Health Centre and, more broadly, within the McGill Academic Health Network. We champion actionable opportunities to support excellence and innovation in healthcare that transform the lives of patients present and future. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, our Code Life campaign has raised a record amount of $110 million, which we are deploying strategically to fund cutting-edge research, life-saving equipment and impactful clinical programs. CODE LiFE is our rallying cry to unite donors, philanthropic partners and medical leaders so that, together, we find solutions to the many challenges we face in healthcare. Please visit us at

About the Grace Dart Foundation

The Grace Dart Foundation provides love and care to the elderly in the greater Montreal area. The Foundation supports a warm and personal environment for the well-being of the elderly through its various donation efforts, in line with the following five areas of giving: Basic Needs, Loneliness & Isolation, Socialization & Personal Development, Cognitive Disorders, and Living Environment. Please visit us

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: “for every future”, we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of over 90,000 employees and assets of approximately $1.3 trillion (as of July 31, 2022), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @Scotiabank.

Follow SAFE on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

SOURCE Montreal General Hospital Foundation

For further information: or to schedule an interview with Dr. Morais, please contact: Magali Boulé, Strategic Communications Advisor, Tel.: 450-601-7670, Email: [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *