By Melinda O’Bier, Physical Therapist Assistant and Certified Falls Prevention Specialist
Aquacare Salisbury – Milford Street
It’s staggering to consider just how frequently adults and older Americans are affected by falls.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 in 4 adults take a tumble with 1 in 5 resulting in a serious injury such as a broken bone or Traumatic Brain Injury.
In fact, falls are the seventh leading cause of death among seniors aged 65 and up. But here is some good news – falls are preventable!
An astounding 13% of fall victims die within the first three months, with the rate rising to 24% within one year. We all need to act now to reduce the risk of falls in our older adult population.
There are several steps that can be taken to reduce falls, including regular exercise, setting up handrails in hallways and bathrooms, removing area rugs, cleaning up spills right away, installing bright lights in dark areas, placing non-slip mats in bathrooms and bedrooms, and setting up medical alert devices.
Additionally, medications should be regularly monitored, as many fall-inducing drugs can cause dizziness, confusion, weakness, and shakiness.
Falls can be devastating to those impacted, so it’s important to take proactive steps to reduce the risk. By focusing on prevention and raising awareness, we can keep the older adults safe and healthy and at home.
When it comes to talking about a fall, it is even less common for an older adult to report they have fallen, unless their healthcare provider asks.
Many consider falls to be a normal part of aging or they fear having a fall may lead to loss of their independence.
However, while many falls can be prevented by making changes in the home, other conversations need to be had with family members and with healthcare providers, including talking about how medications might affect your balance, any changes in your vision, any sort of vitamin deficiency such as low vitamin D, and what to look for in supportive footwear.
More than 50% of adults take one or more psychoactive medications which are known to increase risk of falls.
In addition to these changes at home, you can also work with a physical therapy team to improve your strength and balance in a supportive and safe environment.
Our physical therapy teams can evaluate your walking patterns, strength and balance to determine what exercises or adjustments can be made to allow you to move more confidently and safely.
Call Aquacare Physical Therapy to schedule your free 30-minute consultation so we can create a personalized plan to help you regain your balance and confidence so you can prevent a life-changing fall.
In Spring 2023, Melinda O’Bier, PTA and Certified Falls Prevention Specialist, with Aquacare – Salisbury – Milford Street, will be offers a Falls Prevention and Treatment program.
The program features eight individualized treatments to assist you or your loved one with fall prevention, balance training, home safety recommendations, and how to safely get up from a fall.