‘A.V.O.I.D.’ technique offers key to warding off frailty

Measures to help enjoy a more productive life in senior years

The Seniors Health Network each month explores a different health-care topic with local professionals. This month, Dr. Grace Park shares ways seniors can “AVOID” the pitfalls that contribute to physical decline and frailty.

My mom lives in White Rock. She is 86 and just starting to lose her mobility. I wouldn’t exactly call her frail, but she seems to be deteriorating. Are there any special programs available that might decrease her decline?

We all hope to age well and avoid frailty. The good news is that research on frailty is showing that it can be prevented or at least delayed so that we can enjoy a more productive life in our senior years. Therefore, it is critically important that we intervene and change our lifestyles to ensure we enact the elements that are now recommended by the Canadian Frailty Network to avoid frailty. These are: “AVOID.

A – Activity, V – vaccination, O- optimize medications, I-Interact, D- Diet.

Our community has a lot to offer to help seniors avoid frailty and remain independent for as long as possible. Health starts with having a primary care provider, a GP or a Nurse Practitioner who can attend to your health needs. They can also provide periodic health assessments and recommend a wellness oriented care plan and vaccinations as required. He or she can optimize your medications with regular review to ensure you are still benefiting from them, and reduce the number of medications if possible.

Community recreation centres offer exercise classes for all levels of fitness and even for those with mobility problems, like Get Up and Go classes.

Interaction with people to avoid social isolation is a very important piece of the AVOID strategy. Social isolation has been shown to increase chance of premature death, depression, dementia, number of falls, increase care-giver burden and generally reduce quality of life. Unfortunately, many socially isolated seniors are reluctant to step out and lack the confidence to interact in social settings.

White Rock-South Surrey now has a Seniors Community Connector Program that GP/NPs can refer their patients to through Social Prescribing. If there is a need to improve a senior’s activity/exercise level, nutrition and food security as well as social interactions, the GP/NP can refer their patient to the Seniors Community Connector. The Senior Community Connector will speak with the senior (and family caregiver) to address all aspects of their social health. She is aware of all the senior services in the community and make appropriate recommendations. If there is need for more support to increase motivation and goal setting to overcome barriers, a peer volunteer coach can be connected. This program is available through Seniors Come Share.

A community-based system for health involves the GP and hospital services, but also parks-and-rec centres, education partners, transportation, job and volunteer opportunities, mental health and substance use support, culturally appropriate programs for all ages and community services

The senior community connector will send a follow up report to the GP/NP so the senior will continue to receive the support and benefit of the health and social services connection.

The Senior Community Connector becomes an extension of your primary health care team to ensure a more holistic support network for the senior in the community.

Dr. Grace Park is a family physician who is currently the Medical Director for Home Health with the Fraser Health Authority.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
Thomas Dawson Peacock
Surrey man, 32, charged with sexual interference

Incidents alleged to have happened in Surrey and Abbotsford

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case double in Fraser North health area, up 50% in Vancouver

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

BC Hockey League commissioner Chris Hebb says the league is still on track to begin regular-season play in early December. (BCHL photo)
BCHL still on track to begin regular season in December

Commish hopeful that league can “slide right into the regular season” after successful preseason

(Delta Police Department photo)
No offence in second incident involving a teen girl being approached in Tsawwassen: police

Police still investigating incident on Oct. 15 where teen girl was approached by older man in a burgundy car

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’: Animal activists set to enter not guilty plea in Abbotsford hog farm case

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Dennis Cholowski shows off a Jordan 2 Retro Just Don Blue sneaker, the type of shoe only a true sneakerhead would appreciate. (Facebook photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack Chiefs alum Dennis Cholowski shows off ‘sneakerhead’ collection

The Detroit Red Wing has been spending his NHL paycheques building up an impressive closet of shoes

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read