Falling is a common and serious problem for the elderly. Falls are associated with injury, decreased independent function, premature admission to nursing homes, and even early death.
The incidence and severity of complications related to falling increases steadily after age 60. In 2005, more than 1.6 million seniors were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries. About one-third of individuals over age 65 fall each year and 10% of those sustain serious fractures. About 50% of those who sustain a fracture do not fully recover and many lose independence for life. Those who sustain a hip fracture are at greatest risk for such complications as immobility, disability, and death. Out of individuals who fall, 30% to 50% sustain soft tissue injuries (hematomas, sprains, strains, or dislocations).
Common Factors Leading to Falls:
- Decreased balance and strength of the legs and hips
- Uneven ground or surfaces
- Slick floors or shower/tubs floors
- Poor lighting
- Diseases: Parkinson’s, seizures, diabetes, arthritis, orthostatic hypotension, dizziness, neuropathy
- Taking more than four medications; especially sedatives, antidepressants, & anti-hypertension drugs
- Any conditions that impair safe judgment; fear, anxiety, depression, delirium, & dementia
Once you have identified the risk factors for falling, it’s important to make strides to prevent falls. There are basic strategies and techniques that can be implemented to reduce your chance of falls.
Fall Prevention Tips:
- Use nonskid rugs
- Handrails on the stairs
- Grab bars near toilets, bathtubs/shower stalls
- Proper lighting in-door and out
- Reduce clutter on the floor
- Tuck electrical or phone cords out of the way
- Move commonly used items to lower cabinets or shelves
We Can Help You Prevent Falls!
At EXCEL Spine and Sports Rehab, our physical therapists work to prevent injuries by identifying individuals who are at risk for falls. A comprehensive physical therapy fall evaluation is performed, this includes a thorough history assessment, muscle strength evaluation, balance assessment, and functional mobility assessment. Once the impairments are identified, our physical therapy team works with the patient to develop a treatment plan that will help minimize or prevent future falls. The treatments consist of balance training, endurance/strength training, muscle re-education, and education on how falls can be prevented. Ultimately, we transition their program into the home environment for long-term benefits.
Call Excel Spine and Sports Rehab PC today to schedule an assessment and start your way towards recovery. You may reach us at 469-443-0458.