With the slick, wintry weather comes the increased risk of falls – not just outside on the ice, but in your own home as well due to lack of physical activity. The risk of falling is especially prevalent for those over 65; according to Move Forward PT, “About one third of people over the age of 65 and almost half of people over the age of 80 will fall at least once this year. And falling once doubles your chances of falling again. Falls are responsible for 95 percent of hip injuries, which can be particularly debilitating to older adults.” These statistics can be scary, but falling does not have to be a part of aging for you.
There a lot of factors which contribute to the likelihood of an adult falling, some of them include: being female, being sedentary, leg weakness, certain medical conditions, depression, and inappropriate footwear (Move Forward PT). There are several things you can do to counteract these factors, some on your own and some with the help of a physical therapist. To take preventative measures without physical therapy, start by living an active lifestyle, regardless of the season. Staying active year-round has so many benefits other than reducing your risk of falling; it helps you to maintain a healthy weight, increase energy and metabolism, and prevent or manage many health problems ranging from high blood pressure to cancer (Mayo Clinic).
If your personal efforts to reduce your risk of falling are not quite cutting it, physical therapy is a great addition to your fall prevention regimen. Physical therapy for fall prevention typically starts with an assessment of your risk of falling. This includes reviewing your medical history and medication, vision screening, a home safety assessment, footwear assessment, and other simple health tests (Move Forward PT). After your initial assessment, your physical therapist will create an individualized plan for you, which could include some of the following:
- Suggestions to help make your home as safe as possible for fall prevention
- Designing a training plan:
- Balance training
- Strength & endurance training
- Pain management
(source: Move forward PT)
With your personal fall prevention efforts and the help of a physical therapist, you can greatly reduce your risk of falling, while also improving your overall health by staying more active. To schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists for fall prevention, submit an appointment request form today!