Falls in the Senior Population
As a person ages, there can be changes in their balance and walking. One large concern that accompanies these changes is an increase risk for falling. A fall can cause injuries, a hospitalization and possible surgery depending on the extent of a person’s injuries. In addition to possible acute injuries and subsequent recovery; a fall can cause a fear of falling, change in one’s activity level and a decrease in independence with functional mobility. A physical therapist can help an individual recover from a recent fall and reduce the risk of a future fall or prevent falls for individuals who have noticed a change in their walking or balance.
Falls can be caused by a variety of reasons. Muscle weakness, sensory changes, visual changes and changes in safety awareness along with many other impairments, can put an individual at a higher risk of falling. A physical therapist can perform a comprehensive evaluation to assist in determining the impairments that are causing falls or increasing fall risk. Following this assessment, a plan of care can be implemented to address these impairments and reduce fall risk. Some interventions include: strengthening, balance training, education on safety awareness, gait training, recommendations for home modifications and assistive device training. These training activities occur during treatment sessions with a therapist as well as with an individualized home exercise program that is safely designed to perform at home.
By taking a proactive approach and visiting a physical therapist when subtle changes in balance or walking occur, a person can reduce their fall risk and increase their safety and independence at home and in the community
06 Nov, 2014