Maintain Your Independence
Falls are one of the leading causes of fatal and nonfatal injuries in those over the age of 65. Just one fall can lead to injury, impaired function, loss of confidence in everyday activities, loss of independence and even death. People of all ages can prevent falls by working on their balance, strength, reaction time and flexibility.
Besides maximizing your physical abilities, remaining upright is also about limiting risk factors. There are risk factors outside the home that contribute to falls that are more about managing than preventing. With the fall weather the ground is going to get slick with leaves and eventually we need to be on the lookout for snow and ice in winter. If you’re not confident in your ability to keep walkways clear, hire someone as it will be well worth it.
Inside the home, reduce the risk of falls by making easy changes like removing trip or slip hazards such as throw rugs, knick-knacks or clutter on the floor or stairs, etc. Also, make sure the lighting is adequate to see where you are going and what may be in your path. Keep frequently used items where they are easy to reach to avoid having to bend/lean to pick them up. Keep the furniture spaced out so you have plenty of room to walk freely. Sometimes it can be difficult to see what could potentially be dangerous in your own home. Invite a friend or family member over to take a second look to see if they notice something you may not have that could be a potential fall hazard.
Physical Therapy Can Help
If you are fearful of falling, physical therapy can be helpful in helping your confidence and to prevent falls. Working on your balance, strength, reaction time and flexibility can greatly decrease your risk of falling. In fact, a program developed to decrease falls in the elderly was shown to decrease falls by 58%! If you’re worried about your ability to avoid falling, get started today before the really nasty weather hits. Give us a call for an evaluation to ease your fears!
written by Jenn Millen, PTA, ATC