More than one-third of healthy adults over age 65 fall every year. According to the National Institutes of Health and the Michigan Department of Community Health, falling accounts for 80 to 90 percent of hip fractures and is the leading cause of injury deaths in older adults.
Anyone can fall and the risk increases with age. This increased risk of falling may be the result of changes that come with aging in addition to the effects of other medical conditions such as arthritis, stroke, diabetes or cataracts. Some of these risk factors can be improved through therapy with Lakeland Rehabilitation Services.
Our physical therapy team offers a specific balance assessment as well as testing of strength and flexibility to develop an individualized program. This will help to improve overall safety during daily activities and prevent future falls. Our facility includes specialized equipment to challenge the client’s balance in a safe environment with one-on-one training during therapy staff.
Low vision is often related to falls in the home. Our occupational therapy team is trained to recommend modifications and equipment that may be utilized in the home environment to promote safe, independent living.
Click here to download our tips for living with low vision. [link to NS-065-204 (4/10)]
Dizziness and Vertigo
Falling can occur due to a sudden onset of a feeling that the room is spinning when sitting up, laying down, or rolling over in bed. This may be due to a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
(BPPV). BPPV may be treated by specially trained physical therapists to effectively decrease or stop the symptoms from occurring.
We can also help those who have experienced long-term dizziness or vertigo due to other causes. Our physical therapy team may assist in improving your ability to maintain balance and tolerate symptoms through specific training activities. If you feel that you may benefit from any of these services to help prevent future falls, please talk to your physician about a referral.
Reduce Your Risk
Older adults can take steps to lower the risk of falling. Here are ideas:
- Have your vision and hearing checked regularly.
- Know the side effects of medicines. Some may lead to loss of balance and coordination.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Wear rubber-soled and low-heeled shoes that fit properly and support your feet. Don’t wear loose-fitting slippers that could cause you to trip.
- Be careful on wet or icy sidewalks.
- Exercise regularly to stay flexible and keep your bones strong.
Preventing Falls at Home
Take safety measures at home to reduce your risk of falling as you get older. Take these steps:
- Remove small rugs or use double-sided tape under small rugs to prevent slipping.
- Keep clutter to a minimum. Remove things from walking areas that you could trip over.
- Keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable level. This will keep you from becoming too dizzy from extreme cold or heat.
- Keep frequently used items in reach, so you don't have to rely on a step stool.
- Install handle bars next to toilets and bathtubs or showers.
- Use nonslip mats in bathtubs and showers.
- Improve the lighting in your home.
- Remove electrical cords from the floor in walking areas.
- Install handrails and lights on all staircases.
For more information, contact:
Lakeland Rehabilitation Services, Health Park, St. Joseph
Lakeland Rehabilitation Services, Niles
Lakeland Rehabilitation Services, Coloma
Click here to download a brochure about our balance and falls prevention program.