Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.1 Most falls are a result of factors such as impaired postural stability, physical weakness, neurological problems, chronic medical conditions, vestibular disorders, and environmental factors. Certain drugs and their interactions with each other can also contribute to dizziness and a loss of balance. Many of these causes can be eliminated or diminished with a fall prevention and balance program.
How can older adults prevent falls? Older adults can take several steps to protect their independence and reduce their risk of falling. They can:
- Exercise regularly: exercise programs like aquatic therapy, Tai Chi or a program developed by a physical therapist that increases strength and incorporates balance training are especially good.
- Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review medicines – both prescription and over-the counter – to reduce side effects and interactions.
- Have eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
- Improve the lighting in the home.
- Reduce hazards in the home that can lead to falls such as scatter rugs, wires, etc.
At Progression Physical Therapy our goal is to prevent more serious life-threatening injuries from occurring and allowing individuals to live fuller and richer lives. Our individualized falls prevention program is designed to reduce the incidence of falls through:
- Flexibility and strengthening exercises for lower extremities, hips, and trunk.
- Postural corrections and postural strengthening.
- Static and dynamic balance activities.
- Patient/caregiver education regarding environmental factors in the home that can be changed to lessen the risks of falling.