Finding Balance making a difference
Finding Balance is an annual month-long campaign that educates and raises awareness among seniors - and future generations of seniors - about the importance of leading healthy and safe lifestyles to prevent falls.
The inaugural campaign was launched in November 2008 and was met with success across the province of Alberta. After its fourth successful year, the campaign continues to gain momentum and support across the province and with other groups outside Alberta. In fact, stakeholders in Ontario are currently implementing the Finding Balance campaign in their communities.
Finding Balance began with two key messages:
- Check your medications – Talk to your doctor or pharmacist
- Keep active – Exercise for strength and balance
In 2009, a third message was added based on stakeholder feedback and research on common fall risks: “Watch your step – Wherever you are”
In 2011, a fourth key message, “Speak Up About Dizziness - Tell Your Doctor and Take Action,” was added to again address stakeholder feedback and research on risks associated with falls.
Finding Balance has used a strong brand since its inception, including an identifiable word mark, footprint images, font, and colours. These pieces were developed and tested in 2008. As part of our commitment to ongoing evaluation and change, focus groups were again organized in 2011 and minor changes were made to the materials to address the feedback.
While strategies have changed to some extent over the life of the campaign to address the findings of annual evaluations, core strategies have remained largely the same:
- Airing a 30 second television advertisement on Global stations
- Print newspaper advertisements in weekly papers
- Distribution of flyers, posters and bookmarks to stakeholders, pharmacies, libraries, seniors centres and other facilities
- Encouraging municipal proclamations of November as Seniors’ Falls Prevention Month
- Media relations
- Advertising on closed circuit television screens in medical waiting rooms and hospitals
- Website maintenance and promotion with resources and links to community programs
- Supporting events in communities
Sponsors - 2011
- Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research
- Government of Alberta
Gold Level Sponsors:
- Alberta Medical Association
- Physiotherapy Alberta – College + Association
Bronze Level Sponsor:
- Bayshore Home Health
- Global TV
- Alberta Blue Cross
- Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association
- College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
- Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta
- McCallum Printing
Campaign effectiveness has been measured over time in a number of ways:
- Pre- and post-campaign telephone surveys with Albertans
- Post-campaign surveys with stakeholders
- Ongoing records of materials distributed, materials ordered, media relations results, advertising sponsorship value per dollar spent, etc.
Year Materials distributed
Finding Balance creates materials that are distributed free of charge to stakeholders across Alberta. The grand total of materials distributed includes orders from stakeholders, pharmacy distribution, and mail outs to seniors’ centres, lodges, libraries, native centres and municipalities.
Over the course of four years, the number of pharmacies who participate in Finding Balance by distributing flyers has increased from 887 to 1,018. This partnership is instrumental in reaching Albertans across the province.
Number of orders received from stakeholders
Since 2009, the number of orders from stakeholders has increased by 97% from 136 to more than 268. Orders for resources continue to arrive.
Public opinion surveys
Finding Balance conducts regular telephone surveys with Albertans to measure changes in knowledge and reported behaviour related to falls among seniors. The first survey was completed in 2008 as a benchmark, and has been repeated annually since then.
The percentage of seniors who believe that falls are the leading cause of accidents that result in hospitalization among Alberta seniors has steadily increased from 44% in 2008 to 68% in 2011.
67% of seniors say they are currently taking measures to prevent falls. This is an increase from 54% in 2008.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of injury among older adults. In fact, one in three seniors in the community will experience a fall each year.
Alberta seniors continue to believe that falls can be avoided and there should be more information available to them. We have seen a shift in awareness that falls are a concern for seniors, and can now place greater emphasis on prevention strategies.
Finding Balance will continue to partner with organizations in Alberta to bring falls prevention messages to older adults.
For more information about Finding Balance or how to get involved, click here.
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