The National Council on Aging reports that 35 percent of all Americans 65 and older fall each year. In fact, falls are the major cause of injuries in older people. Falls are also expensive: In 2015, the total medical costs involving falls exceeded $50 billion, according to data compiled by the vertigo, and other vestibular issues in nature can and do frequently affect a younger audience. No matter a person’s age, most falls can be prevented with the right exercise program and other therapies that can greatly improve your chances of staying on your feet. Here are some ways to stay safe and avoid injury:
- Follow an exercise program designed to improve balance, strength, and flexibility.
- Talk to your therapist about obtaining an assessment of your risk for falling.
- Have your hearing and vision evaluated each year and update your eye-wear accordingly.
- Remove tripping hazards from your home, make sure your lighting is adequate, and install grab bars wherever needed. See our Home Adaptation Checklist created for you!
- Use walking aids like canes and walkers properly.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration leads to low blood pressure, which can cause confusion and loss of balance, which could bring on a fall.
While some factors are unable to be modified there are many that can. Take these 6 steps today to lower your chances of falls and stay independent longer.
You can always count on CORA’s balance training if falls or imbalance is turning your world upside down. Our licensed therapists are experts in treating most types of balance disorders. We tackle these conditions giving everyone, especially our seniors a safer, healthier quality of life.
Our Real Focus is Fall Prevention
CORA Physical Therapy offers a wide variety of fall prevention services for seniors and our therapists treat most types of balance disorders. Our focus is on fall prevention, and our comprehensive treatment plan has the potential to prevent 30 to 40 percent of all falls. We employ tailored balance retraining and vestibular adaptation exercises, gait and safety training, and muscle strengthening to help some of the more than 90 million people in the U.S. who are at a risk for falling.
The truth is people of all ages and all activity levels benefit from a risk assessment. Talk to your primary care physician about getting referred to a CORA clinic to have a licensed therapist complete a balance and fall risk assessment to determine your risk and help you live a safe, healthy life. Imagine living without the fear of an accidental fall. Protecting life can be simple, painless and is covered by Medicare and most insurances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does balance naturally decline over time?
As we age, cells in the vestibular system die off. These cells are connected to centers in the brain that control our balance, which begin to decline. But the right exercises can dramatically improve balance, which is very important for aging patients.
How will you assess my risk of falling?
CORA conducts a comprehensive evaluation to assess your risk of falling, followed by balance training to keep you on your feet. Our screening includes questions about your recent history of falling and whether any falls required medical attention. Our licensed therapists use nationally recognized, evidence-based assessment tools such as the Berg Balance Scale, TUG, and Tinetti tests.
Can my medication increase my risk of falling?
As people age, medications take longer to break down and leave the body, and various drugs interact with each other in ways that may bring about falls. Some medications have side effects that can increase the risk of falling, and some — including tranquilizers, sedatives, sleeping pills, and antidepressants — can greatly increase the chances of falling. You should regularly review your medications with your physician or pharmacist and take medications only as they are prescribed.
Are falls a necessary part of getting older?
No, falling is not an unavoidable part of aging. With lifestyle changes and comprehensive exercise programs focused on improving balance, the number of older Americans who fall each year can be greatly reduced.
If I’ve already had an accident, can I still work on preventing additional falls?
Absolutely! CORA can introduce you to an exercise program that will improve your walking speed, balance, strength, and flexibility to help you live the healthy and steady life that you deserve and ease your fear of falling again.
If you’re interested in improving your balance and lowering your risk of falling, schedule an appointment at one of our 200+ physical therapy clinics to learn how we can help you stay healthy and steady.