One in four people above the age of 65 ends up falling at least once a year. A fall is defined as an unplanned and unexpected contact with the supporting surface. For example, if you get up and fall back in the chair that is considered a fall or a near fall. This only changes when a fall happens because of any push or shove or any medical condition like syncope, stroke and or heart problems. According to research near falls are one of the only independent predictors of future falls(naygi 2017). People who have two or more stumbles in the past month show more risk of falling in the next year (Teno 1990).
As we can see from the above statistics understanding what a fall is as well as looking for any such indications in our near and dear ones usually helps everyone avoid a catastrophic event.
Hopkin fall grading scale divides falls based on severity to
Falls are not a normal part of aging. As compared to young adults, in older Adults there is dampening in the response from our body systems that help prevent us from falling. There is also a lack of anticipatory actions even if the change in position is predicted like planning to get up and going to the bathroom, there could still be a chance of falling (kanekar and Aruin).
This helps us understand that if we stop considering minor stumbles and falls as regular events and seek treatment from a Physical Therapist (PT) they can identify the missing components like weakness in muscles, difficulty in activating correct strategies that help us balance better, any changes in sensation in feet, and issues with vestibular system like feeling dizzy and vertigo.
Your physical therapist will usually perform a detailed examination which will challenge the patient's balance in different ways. They will establish a baseline to begin, and in each session, the PT and patient will work on improving balance reactions and education in day to day techniques. The patient will be given a simple yet detailed home exercise program. Further, some advanced facilities play a major role in rehabilitation, with equipment like the Solo Step - which is a harness system that secures the patient and completely negates the possibility of any falls. Thus, the patient gains confidence and re-learns the necessary skills to manage their balance.
As part of Reddy Care’s In-Home Physical Therapy, the PT will help you identify any unsafe home environments, like a loose rug, under lit corners, adding contrasting materials as we grow older we rely more on vision for balance, helping patients with mobility in their home and outside, performing balance training at home using devices like foam pad, agility ladder, and cones as well as with one-on-one training patient will regain confidence.
So as PT’s we want all patients to answer this simple question, are you falling?
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If you have any questions give Reddy Care Physical and Occupational Therapy a call!
Reddy Care Great Neck: 516-829-0030
Reddy Care Farmingdale: 516-420-2900
In-Home Physical & Occupational Therapy: 516-829-0030