About one third of people over the age of 65 and about half of people over the age of 80 will fall at least once this year. What does this have to do with physical therapy? Well, your physical therapist can actually help you to prevent falls in the future, as well as help you to diagnose the issues that could be causing the falls. Fall prevention in seniors is extremely important, as these falls can severely limit a person’s ability to stay active and independent.
What Are Falls?
Anyone can have a fall, but older people a
e certainly more vulnerable than others. The reasons for these falls can range from simple to complex, and one of the most important factors of fall prevention is diagnosing the problem that created the fall as well as discovering factors that could contribute to falls in the future. Some of the factors that could contribute to falls include, but are not limited to
- Leg muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Difficulty walking or balancing
- Conditions that cause confusion, such as Alzheimer’s
- Medical conditions that limit your ability to get around
- Taking multiple medications at the same time, especially psychoactive medications
- The use of a cane or other walking device
- Being 80 years of age or older
- Home hazards
- Low blood pressure
These are all factors that can be determined by your physical therapist as a first step to fall prevention. If a fall occurs, it is important to let your physical therapist or regular physician know immediately.
The Connection between Physical Therapy and Fall Prevention
Physical therapy and fall prevention go hand in hand for many different reasons. Physical therapy treatment can do worlds of good for fall prevention, treatment of injuries related to falls, and improving overall health to keep these falls from ever happening.
- Physical exercise regimens implemented by your physical therapists can keep you active and improve your range of motion, decreasing one’s chance of having a fall.
- If a fall occurs, your physical therapists can assess your health and living situation to determine the cause of the fall and begin prevention treatment.
Fall Prevention Treatment
So, what does a fall prevention treatment plan look like? Well, your physical therapist will take all the necessary steps to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Some of the elements of that treatment plan could include:
- Home safety assessment – Determining which factors of your home environment could be contributing to a patient’s fall risk, and determining how to eliminate those risks.
- Perform a simple vision exam and refer patient to an optometrist if necessary.
- Balance training exercises
- Activities to improve walking a moving ability
- Fear management – A patient’s fear of falling can actually contribute to their risk of falling
- Increase activity levels – staying active increases a patient’s range of motion, which can decrease their risk of falling
- Education – Educating the patient regarding their own individual fall risks and how to reduce those risks
- Dual task training program – Training the patient to perform multiple tasks at the same time in a safe manner
- Recommending Fall Prevention community programs – A physical therapist may be involved in setting up one of these programs or they may be able to recommend programs in the area.
With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for fall prevention treatment. Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center has expertise in assessing, diagnosing, and treating the real issues that cause medical problems. Let Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC help you determine what your fall risks are and implement a fall prevention treatment plan to help you feel safe as well as improve your overall health.