What is fall prevention?
What are some of the common causes and personal risks factors associated with seniors' falls?
- Weakness/poor balance
- Chronic medical conditions such as blood pressure/heart problem
- Difficulty controlling bladder
- Neurological changes
- Multiple medication/-often combined with over the counter remedies
- Foot problems
- Impaired vision, hearing, sense of touch
- Over consumption of alcohol – drugs
What is the prognosis of falls?
- Every year falls account for 65% of the injuries among seniors and are estimated to cost Canadians 2.4 billion dollars annually, of which one billion are direct health costs.
- It is estimated that about 40% of falls among seniors which result in hospital stays are attributed to hip fractures.
- Nearly one in three seniors or close to one million seniors will experience at least one fall per year. Up to one half of these seniors will experience more than one fall.
- Falls are the one of the leading causes of death among seniors.
- 25% of falls cause seniors to limit their normal activities either because of an injury or the fear of falling again
How can physiotherapy help with fall prevention?
Make an appointment with your DoctorYour doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. To help with fall prevention, your doctor may consider weaning you off certain medications — such as sedatives and some types of antidepressants.
Make an appointment with your PhysiotherapistIf you have severe symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, blurred vision, impaired speech, immediately get yourself to an emergency. If you do not have severe medical conditions and or symptoms, your physiotherapist can help your with a falls prevention program. We will begin with a history of your falls and accidents so that we can gain a better understanding of you limitations.Details such as these may help identify specific fall-prevention strategies. Your physiotherapist will take a medical history and ask you about your vision and other conditions that may also affect your balance. Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when you walk? Your physiotherapist may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.
How can exercise and physical development help falls prevention?
Physiotherapy and Physical DevelopmentThe final step is to establish a personal improvement health plan to continue to develop physically throughout your life. It is never to late to start to exercise and to develop better functional movements and subsequently live a better quality of life. This is especially necessary after injury or an accident when you have become deconditioned. All of our staff have a combination of health sciences and sports sciences training, having dual training in both kinesiology and physiotherapy and allowing us to provide a biomechanical focus. Once you have recovered from your injuries, our therapists will perform a functional movement screen and analysis to identify individual muscle imbalances that are unique to your inherited structure, to your movement patterns, and to your goals and interests in living a healthy physical life. We develop a individualized program that focus on:
- we assess your strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, mobility, and your ability to perform functional movements.
- Your specific imbalances and movement patterns at work, home, and those evident during the activities that you participate in.
- You structural and genetic posture and alignment characterizes and how they affect your interests to do activity etc.
- We look at the ergonomics specific to your workplace and home
What life style and self-care measures can you do for yourself to help eliminate or reduce the changes of falling later in life?
Exercise, move, and challenge yourself before you lose your balanceWe cannot stress enough the importance of physical activity in fall prevention. With your doctor's OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements and a great exercises for balance. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Seek out classes and depending on the amount of supervision required, physiotherapist, personal trainer, and or care giver can help. If you avoid physical activity because you're afraid it will make a fall more likely, tell your physiotherapist. He or she may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs.
Make an appointment with your Doctor and PhysiotherapistTo learn more about your bone health and your physical risks and seek advice from Medically trained individuals Six simple fall preventions strategies may help you:
- Install proper lighting throughout your home, particularly around the stairs. Also, place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hall ways, place lamps within reach of your bed in case you get up in the middle of the night, make clear paths to light switches and consider installing glow in the dark switches to replace the traditional switches. Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs and store flashlights in easy to find places in case of power outages.
- Use nightlights in hallways, in a bedroom and the bathroom. Always have a flashlight in a location close to your bed.
- Have at least one handrail (preferably two) on all stairways and steps in your home. Ensure handrails are securely attached and in good repair.
- Check that stairs are in good repair and are slip resistant. Adding a strip along the edge of each step in a contrasting color can help make them easier to see.
- Wear proper footwear. Shoes, boots and slippers should provide good support. Avoid loose slippers or stocking feet.
- Install grab bars in all bathrooms, by the toilet and in the bathtub or shower. It's a good idea to have two bars in the tub, one on a sidewall and one on the back wall. If you need extra support, consider a bath seat or bench so you can have a shower sitting down.
- Use assistive devices. Your physiotherapist might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help, too. For example, hand rails for both sides of the stairways are beneficial, nonslip treads for bare wood steps, a raised toilet seat or one with armrests, grab bars for the shower or tub, and a sturdy plastic seat for the show or tub, plus a hand head shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down. If necessary, ask your physiotherapist for a referral to an occupational therapist who can come to your home and help you. Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive.
- Remove household hazards. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways may be filled with hazards. To make your home safer, remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords. Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas and remove elevated area rugs and or use rugs with double faced tape and tacks or a slip resistant backing. Repair loose, wooden floorboards, store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach, clean spilled liquids, grease or food, use nonskid floor wax, and nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.
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