Reducing the Risk of Major Falls

Physical therapists join other medical professions across the country to educate Americans that falls are not solely a problem for the elderly every September during National Falls Prevention Week (September 21-25, 2020). They’re frequently debilitating, expensive, and even deadly. Issues with balance and strength, limitations in flexibility, trip hazards in the home, poor vision, and even some prescription medications can all increase the risk of falling and are very preventable.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four Americans aged 65 and up falls each year. Only around half of those who are affected report the experience to a doctor or a loved one. 

One in every five falls results in a major injury (such as a broken bone or a concussion), resulting in over 3 million emergency department visits and 800,000 hospitalizations per year. In 2015, these treatments and hospitalizations cost a total of roughly $50 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid covering three-quarters of the cost.

The following beliefs about falling are either false, misleading, or both:

Falling is an inevitable part of growing older.

Wrong. Falling does not have to be an inevitable aspect of growing older. As previously said, the most common causes of falls are simple to recognize and correct before a fall occurs.

If I just stay at home and limit my activities, I won’t fall.

To begin with, more than half of all falls occur in the home. It’s true, and it’s probably because we let our guard down the most when we’re at home. We spend the majority of our time at home, including times when we are not at our most awake (i.e., mornings, middle of the night, etc.). 

Reduced exercise, on the other hand, can actually increase your chances of falling. When you become more sedentary, you lose muscle mass, flexibility, and range of motion, all of which can have a significant impact on your balance.

The loss of strength and flexibility is unavoidable.

While it’s true that as we age, our bodies grow weaker and less flexible, most older folks can recuperate and preserve a lot of this by engaging in regular exercise and activity. It’s never too late to get stronger, more flexible, and more balanced.

I am less independent when I need walking aids.

Some elderly people benefit from using a cane or walker, and there’s nothing wrong with it. These technologies, when used appropriately, can increase your mobility and allow you to live a more active life.

It’s pointless to discuss falls unless they occur.

If you’re worried of falling, don’t keep it to yourself. Your fall risk can be appropriately assessed and improved by enlisting the help of family and friends, as well as working with a physical therapist. 

A physical therapist can build a specific fall prevention program for you after an initial evaluation, which may include exercise, a home safety assessment, and possibly the use of a walking aid. Contact the professionals at Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy now to learn more at https://prokinetixrehab.com/

AUTHOR

Dr. Ben Bagge

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance

"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Back To Workouts and Sports They Enjoy without surgery, stopping activities they love, or relying on pain medicine."
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