One in four adults over age 65 will experience a fall each year. A senior who falls can suffer devastating injury or, in some cases, death. Falls prevention starts with knowing the risk factors, and recovery from fall-related injury is possible with the right physical therapy treatment plan.
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that over 27,000 deaths happen in the older adult population each year due to falls. Those who survive falling, however, often experience serious injury. A doctor will frequently prescribe physical therapy treatment as a key component in the recovery process.
Fortunately, before any medical treatment is needed, we can identify a few common risk factors for falls. Knowing these can help reduce a senior’s likelihood of experiencing one.
Falls Prevention Starts with Knowing Risk Factors
Though falling is a serious danger that every adult over 65 should be mindful of, some individuals are more at risk than others. Evidence indicates that you are at an increased risk of experiencing a fall if you1:
- Are over the age of 80
- Have limitations with performing your activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and transferring)
- Have a prior history of falls
- Have Parkinson’s disease and/or dementia
- Have reduced hip, knee, ankle, and grip strength and range of motion
- Have impaired vision
- Have reduced walking speed and any “abnormalities” of the way you walk
- Have impaired dynamic balance
- Experience difficulty when arising from a chair
- Have depression
- Are taking numerous amount of medications.
If you any of these risk factors may be present in your life, be sure to consult with a doctor. A physical therapist will be able to provide you with insight on falls prevention and can advise you on any initial measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a fall at home.