Falls of Seniors: What to do
More than one third of person 65 years of age or older fall each year and in half of such cases the falls are recurrent.
If you are a senior, ie 60 year or older that means you need to take more care and precautions for yourself. Other than medical conditions or diseases which you take care by doing routine blood tests and investigations, you should not forget to keep yourself free from falls.
What are falls?
Falls include dropping from a standing or sitting position or from ladder or stepladder.
Falls are common in elderly. It has been proven scientifically that with aging, a lot of brain structures, muscles strength, vision, hearing and sensations show a gradual decline.
Causes of fall
Many things can put you at higher (double or triple) risk for a fall.
Medical Risk Factors
· Impaired musculoskeletal function, gait (read walking style) abnormality and osteoporosis
· Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), blood pressure fluctuation
· Depression, Alzheimer’s disease and senility
· Arthritis, hip weakness and imbalance
· Neurologic conditions including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis etc.
· Urinary and bladder dysfunction
· Vision or hearing loss
· Cancer that affects the bones
· Side effects of medications
Personal Risk Factors
· Age. The risk for a fall increases with age. Normal aging affects our eyesight, balance, strength, and ability to quickly react to our environments.
· Activity. Lack of exercise leads to decreased balance, coordination, and bone and muscle strength.
· Habits. Excessive alcohol intake and smoking decrease bone strength. Alcohol use can also cause unsteadiness and slow reaction times.
· Diet. A poor diet and not getting enough water will deplete strength and energy, and can make it hard to move and do everyday activities.
Falls and accidents seldom “just happen”
Why should you NOT fall?
As a result of fall, you may get a small injury like a bruise or mild bleeding or a muscle pull to some serious injuries like fracture (break in bone) or brain injury and deaths too.
If you are osteoporotic (a condition in which bones are already weak) chances of fracture increases.
Fall risk increases with age. Henceforth, falls are common and serious health problem with devastating consequences in elderly
Prevention of fall is possible by early diagnosis and awareness about intervention. Fall should not be perceived as inevitable part of aging. All elderly, be sure to discuss the fall with doctor, even if you are not hurt. It can also be a sign of new medical condition like diabetes or change in blood pressure.
Physiotherapists play a vital role in prevention of falls.
Physiotherapy and rehabilitation at ReLivaTM for fall prevention
Reliva therapists conduct a detail check of elderly muscles strength and sensations of body more specifically for legs. Reliva therapists also conduct scientifically proven validated scales (Fall risk assessment scale and Berg Balance scale) to know if there is any risk of fall and to know balance problems in elderly.
Based on which, Reliva therapists design an exercise protocol to improve strength and balance in sitting, standing as well as walking. Physiotherapists are specially trained for balance specific exercises. If required, they will prescribe an assistive device (walker or stick which can later be gradually discontinued ) with regular supervised exercise sessions.
Call Reliva if:
You are an elderly
You want to get fall risk check
You want to get balance check
You want strengthening and balance exercises
You want home modification tips.
For simple Tips to Prevent Falls, click here and see the infographic.
What to do if you had a Fall
- Do not panic. Assess the situation and determine if you are hurt.
- Slide or crawl along the floor to the nearest couch or chair and try to get up.
- If you cannot get up, call for help.
- If you are alone, slowly crawl to the telephone and call nearest hospital or relatives.
- Once you are ok, do see a doctor or a Physiotherapist even if you haven’t hurt yourself, to ascertain the reason for the fall.
Related articles: Falls Prevention Tips