The number of older people falling is increasing annually in Australia. Each year one third of people aged over 65 years experience a fall, with older women being most at risk. Unfortunately, as we get older we are more likely to sustain a fall that can have a serious impact on our health, living situation and our families.
Why do People Fall?
Many factors such as physical, psychological, social and environmental factors can contribute to or cause a fall. A few of the most common predictors of falls include:
The Impact of Falls
Falls are one of the leading reasons for hospital admissions in older people. Injuries range from bruises and lacerations to hip fractures or traumatic brain injury. Fractures occur in 10-15% of falls and other serious injuries requiring medical admission occur in 15-20%. Falls are the strongest risk factor for fracture, more so than osteoporosis!
Falls can also have a significant impact on the social and psychological wellbeing of the individual. A person will often feel vulnerable, fearful and hopeless after a fall. This can impact their confidence in their mobility or their living situation and can also impact their ability to function in the home environment and the community.
Less than half of older patients who fall tell their clinician about it due to embarrassment or a disregard of the significance of the fall. If you or someone you know has had multiple falls or a fall that makes you concerned, it is strongly recommended that you seek advice from your GP, occupational therapist or physiotherapist.
How Can BeachLife Physio Reduce Falls Risk?
Firstly, we are able to assess for possible causes of the falls such as weakness of specific muscles, reduced sensation and specific balance testing. Our physios then use this information to prescribe an appropriate program which can include any of the following:
As well as reducing falls, exercise helps to improve well being, has positive impacts on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and helps fight depression, dementia and cancer.
At BeachLife Physio we can assess and prescribe a balance program in the clinic but we also offer home visits on the Northern Beaches and Northern Suburbs of Sydney to assist people at risk of falls and help them maintain their lifestyle. If you have any concerns or are interested in a falls assessment, please call us on 9970 7982.
Assess Your Balance
Below are two tests that you can use to assess your balance. Difficulty with either of the tests indicates that you are at an increased risk of a fall.
Please only attempt these tests if it is safe for you to do so. Position yourself near something to hold in case you need it; a bench, table or wall. If you are unsure about your ability, ask someone to stand close for supervision. Start with tandem stance, as this is easier, and only if you are able to do this easily, should you attempt single leg balance.
Thank you to Susan for modelling great balance!
If you have difficulty with balance, have experienced a fall and are concerned about your risk, or need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or book online.
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