Injuries from falling afflict many adults— the majority of whom are senior citizens—causing painful fractures and leaving them with severe mobility problems. Changes related to aging, such as decreases in visual capacity, hearing, and strength, can contribute to the likelihood of a tumble.
1/3 of people age 65 and older will report at least one fall a year. Of those, 20-30% sustain a serious injury that can increase their risk of early death. 90% of hip fractures occur during a fall. Additionally, ¼ of those who fall and fracture a hip will die within a year.
Whether you are a senior or you have an elderly parent, it is important to develop a program that will help protect you or your loved one from falling by improving areas of the body that leave a person more susceptible to falls, including
• Strengthening the lower body;
• Adjusting balance and coordination;
• Developing correct posture; and
• Encouraging regular physical activity.
Home and lifestyle changes can also make a difference in fall prevention. Consider some of the following:
• Have your vision and hearing checked regularly;
• Keep your home free of clutter;
• Ensure you have adequate lighting;
• Be aware of medications affecting mobility;
• Avoid dehydration;
• Have handrails installed where necessary; and
• Keep electrical cords and wires out of main areas.
Injuries related to falls can affect a person’s ability to lead an independent and active life. We can begin a process for you or your loved one that can help ensure many years of healthy, injury-free living. Take the first step toward an effective fall prevention program before your first stumble occurs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.