According to the Centers for Disease Control, 25% of Americans age 65 and greater experience a fall each year.
While a fall may not seem like a big deal, they can be for our older population whose physical changes, medication, and health conditions put them at higher risk. They are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions in older adults.
A fear of falling is a significant problem for many, who in retaliation, limit their activities, including social engagements. This can lead to more significant health problems. Staying active is a vital component for maintaining health and minimizing the risk of dementia and depression. Contrary to what some believe, physical activity can prevent falls from happening.
Five Essential Fall Prevention Tips
- Talk to Your Doctor – It is your doctor’s job to keep you as healthy as possible. Living in fear is not something they would want for you. Discuss your concerns, medication history, fall history, and overall health. Depending on your needs, they may make recommendations such as seeing a physical therapist to develop a custom exercise program for fall prevention.
- Stay Active – If fear of falling is preventing you from staying active and enjoying life, talk to your doctor about how to incorporate physical activity back into your life. Activities like walking, swimming or water aerobics can provide excellent health benefits including increased strength for cardiovascular benefit, balance, and flexibility. The Redmond Step & Spine Physical Therapy clinic offers medically modified yoga on Monday evenings with Stefanie Turner, PT, DPT at 6:30 pm for only $5 per class.
- Minimize Hazards in the Home – Get your home in order by eliminating clutter and objects that can cause you to trip, slip or lose balance. Add a non-slip backing to area rugs to prevent them from moving underfoot or eliminate area rugs altogether. Use a non-slip mat in the bathtub and shower or add a shower seat to prevent falls.
- Evaluate Your Medications – Some medications can increase your risk of a fall. Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist to see if anything you are taking is putting you at greater risk. Alternatives may be available.
- See a Physical Therapist – Physical therapists are specially trained at identifying areas of weakness in the body and then developing physical therapy programs that improve strength, balance, and flexibility.
If you or someone you know is concerned about balance or falling, schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist today. We take fall prevention seriously and will help provide you with the tools needed to remain strong and active.