Falls are the leading cause of injury & death among those 65 & over
Falls 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 this year, many times with disastrous consequences. As our nation’s population ages, the number of falls is doing anything but falling, in fact it is rising steadily. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), falling and fear of falling may be reduced with proper physical therapy strengthening and training.
Age-related muscular weakness, inflexibility, and motor control impairment all contribute to falling as we age. Research has proven that adequate physical fitness is effective at preventing falls. When you were very young, you had to learn to balance yourself, and unless you continue to use your balance under safe conditions, this vital skill diminishes. Balance also helps you to keep the mass of your body over your feet, which helps you maintain your stability when moving your weight from one position to another.
We all know that balance, strength, and flexibility tend to deteriorate with age and that falls can sometimes be a growing concern as we age. Balance training therapy is designed to help you strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and joint range of motion, and better your overall balance.
Falls can diminish your ability to lead an active and independent life. Physical therapists can help you reduce your risk of falling by:
. Assessing your risk of falling
. Helping you make your home as safe as possible
. Educating you about the medical risk factors linked to falls
. Designing individualized exercises and balance training
. Working with other health care professionals and community services to create programs for people who want to reduce their risk of falling
The factors associated with the greatest fall risk are:
. A history of previous falls
. Balance problems
. Leg muscle weakness
. Vision problems
. Taking more than 4 medications or psychoactive medications
. Difficulty with walking
To help you lower your risk of falling, a physical therapist can design a personalized exercise and training program to improve your balance and strength. A recent systematic review of many published studies found that exercise-based programs are effective in preventing falls. These programs are especially effective when balance exercises are performed.
Balance training has been shown to be an important and effective part of falls prevention. Your physical therapist will design exercises that challenge your ability to keep your balance, including such exercises as single-leg standing.
Some people think that the best thing to do if you’ve fallen, or if you’re afraid of falling, is to be less active. Why take the chance of falling again, right? Well, research shows that seniors who are less active are more likely to fall, because they lack the strength and balance and they need to resist falls. This is why healthcare professionals recommend starting a regular exercise routine of any kind – even if you start by taking only a few steps every day.
During physical therapy sessions you may also learn how strength and aerobic training, and changes or modifications made in your home can help prevent falls. Research has found that fall prevention and balance training therapy can significantly improve the quality of your day-to-day life. The certified and experienced therapists at Premier Physical & Occupational Therapy understand that balance is more than simply being able to stand on one leg without falling. Our therapists are educated on the importance of incorporating vestibular, proprioceptive and visual systems training in order to achieve optimal balance.
Are you headed for a fall? If you over the age of 50, you probably are. Do you experience dizziness or lose your balance often? Prevention & Training are key! Call the nearest Premier Physical & Occupational Therapy location to learn more about balance training and fall prevention therapy. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists. Our goal is to get you moving and enjoying life again, using scientifically-based treatment techniques that focus on restoring function, reducing pain and preventing injury. We can work with your physician to help you achieve a healthy, active lifestyle by helping you manage your health over the long run.
Call today for a free balance screening.
2400 13th Street
Ashland, KY 41102