Falls in Elderly: Disastrous Consequences
December 23, 2011 9:35 AM | Tagged as American Physical Therapy Association, balance assessment, elderly, evidence based interventions, falls, falls-related injuries, Premiere Physical Therapy, risk
Falls in the elderly population are prevalent, dangerous and costly. About one in three seniors above age 65, and nearly one in two seniors over age 80 will fall at least once each year, many times with disastrous consequences. As our nation's population ages, the rate of falls is rising. Yet, falling and fear of falling may be reduced by physical therapist intervention, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
"Falling and fear of falling among seniors is a public health problem and should not be accepted simply as a normal condition of aging," says physical therapist Leslie Allison, PT, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Sciences, at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.
Allison notes that there are several risk factors associated with falls, including; being older; being female; impairment of balance or walking; poor vision; leg or trunk weakness; reduced cognitive status (dementia); pre-existing medical conditions, such as Parkinson's Disease, stroke or diabetes; being on more than four medications simultaneously; use of an assistive walking device; and a past history of falls.
There are evidence-based interventions that can help reduce the risk of falling and reduce falls-related injuries. A comprehensive examination that includes a balance assessment performed by a physical therapist can be effective in determining the factors that are contributing to an individual's loss of mobility, risk for falls and/or decreased confidence. Once this information has been gathered, the physical therapist can then determine which type of muscle strengthening and balance retraining program would be most beneficial to reduce the individual's risk of falling.
In addition to adhering to a program designed specifically by a physical therapist, older adults should:
If you or someone you know is having difficulty walking or maintaining balance, then you need to ask your doctor for a referral to Premiere Physical Therapy so we can help. Our therapists help people improve balance and their ability to walk every day in all three of our locations.
As always, our therapists will give you one on one attention with one goal, when we're done, "LIFE FEELS BETTER."
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