Falling as you age is common, but that does not make it normal. As Physical Therapists, we most frequently provide care after an incident has occurred to cause injury to a patient. When it comes to injuries caused by falling, those can be significant. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicates the consequences of fall related injuries include:
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults age 65 and older in the United States. Those older adults who have fallen will frequently experience a decrease in their mobility, fear of future falls, and a loss of independence, which all increase the likelihood of falling again in the future. Even more shocking, only 50% of those older adults that fall report the incident to their doctor.
Other signs that may indicate a concern for falling include:
- Dizziness or un-even gaze.
- Swaying from side to side with walking or holding on to furniture “just in case.”
- Watching feet while walking, catching toe on rugs, or difficulty stepping up and over door thresholds
Falling is common in people over the age of 65, but that does not make it a normal part of aging.
If you are a family caregiver, you have a role to play too! Some of the CDC’s recommendations for caregivers include:
- Talk openly with your loved one (and their healthcare provider) if you are concerned about your loved one’s risk of falling or their increased unsteadiness with walking.
- Encourage safe movement activities that can help improve balance and strengthening, as well as to help build self-confidence.
- Safety starts at home by de-cluttering floors, removing items like throw-rugs that may cause tripping, and be sure the home is well-lit including and includes night-lights to help with navigating halls during darkness.
There is good news- many falls are preventable, especially with the help of trusted medical professionals like your physical therapist at MVPT Physical Therapy!
Work with a MVPT physical therapist before a fall occurs!
Working together we will assess the risk for falls, evaluate strength and walking mechanics, and identify balance concerns that can increase the risk of falling. With telehealth as a tool, our physical therapists can actually see inside the home of our patients to get a “virtual-tour” and to identify ways to improve safety at home.
Don’t wait for a fall injury that could have significant physical consequences…use physical therapy now to prevent injuries in the future! Call your closest MVPT office today to schedule an appointment or click here to submit a form and we will call you.
- Center for Disease Control: “Family Caregivers: Protect Your Loved Ones From Falling”
- Center for Disease Control: “What YOU Can DO to Prevent Falls”
- Center for Disease Control: “Stay Independent: Learn more about fall prevention”
- American Physical Therapy Association, Choose PT: “Physical Therapy Guide to Falls”
Older Adult Falls. (2018, September 21). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/falls-older-adults/index.html
Important Facts about Falls. (2017, February). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
Physical Therapy and Fall Prevention. (2020, April 19). Retrieved from https://ppsapta.org/marketing/blog/browse.cfm?recID=1695EAD2-5056-A04E-3787AA0B3F96D648