Falls, especially among the elderly are common, dangerous, and can reduce their ability to lead an active and independent lifestyle.
What are the main risk factors for falls?
– Increasing age
– Decreased activity levels
– Difficulty with balance or walking
– Tight muscles or joints or decreased flexibility in the lower legs
– Weak legs or body
– Poor vision, sensation, proprioception
– Pre-existing medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s, stroke, or diabetes
– Taking more than 4 medications at one time
– Use of an assistive device for walking i.e. cane or walker
– Past history of falls
Common medical problems after a fall
– Hip Fractures
– Wrist Fractures
– Arm/Shoulder Fractures
– Head injury/ Concussion
– Unable to move or walk
– Fear of walking, reduced confidence
– Dependent on others for daily activities such as bathing, eating
How to reduce risk of falls in elderly?
Most of the risk factors listed above can be changed to reduce the risk of falling.
Physiotherapy falls prevention program can help to assess home hazards, rebuild strength, balance, co-ordination and endurance.
If you or someone you know is at risk of falling, consult a physiotherapist to make some simple modifications in the home to make it safe and get proper exercises to improve strength and balance.