Falls can happen to anyone, but they are especially dangerous for patients with chronic illnesses, injuries, and seniors. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one in four U.S. adults aged 65 or older experiences a fall each year. Although not all result in injury, at least 8 million related injuries occur yearly. Fall prevention is important for everyone, especially older people. By the numbers, here is how much falls affect the U.S.
- 32,000 Deaths Each Year
- 95% Of Hip Fractures Come From Falls
- 3 Million Adults Visit The ER After A Fall
- 36 Million Falls Reported Each Year
Falls Can Be Devastating
Serious injuries and complications can result from a fall, and we aren’t even talking about tumbling off a building or down the stairs. Even a fall while standing or walking can hurt you badly, especially if you have osteoporosis or strike your head or body on a hard object such as a table, bookshelf, or the ground. Below are common injuries stemming from falls.
- Broken Bones
- Knee Injuries
- Head Trauma
- Shoulder Dislocations
- Spinal & Nerve Damage
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
Risk Factors For Falls
People with specific chronic injuries are at a higher risk of falling, regardless of age. Senior citizens are especially prone to harm. Here are some common conditions that can lead to falls.
- Dizziness Caused By Medication
- Antidepressants, Tranquilizers, & Sedatives
- Vision Disorders
- Muscle Disorders
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Vitamin D Deficiency
- Foot Pain
- Improper Footwear
- Alcohol Consumption
- Weak Leg Muscles
- Drop Foot
- Objects On The Floor Or Ground
Preventing Falls At Home
If you or a loved one is at risk, here are eight practical steps to minimize the danger at home.
- Keep your home well-lit.
- Use a cane or walker for extra balance.
- Remove tripping hazards like throw rugs and keep the floor clutter-free.
- Use rails and banisters when navigating stairs.
- Install grab bars in the bathtub/shower stall.
- Add handrails in the hallways if needed.
- Don’t wear slippers or socks – choose fitted shoes with non-slip soles.
- Use a shower chair or bench and ensure the floor is not slippery.
Fall Prevention For Seniors
Physical therapy is a great way to help seniors and young people with mobility issues strengthen muscles while improving balance and flexibility. Here are some fall prevention exercises your therapist might recommend; they’ll vary depending on your unique circumstances and physical limitations.
- Leg Lifts & Squats
- Tai Chi
- Standing On One Leg (While Holding Onto A Supporting Object)
- Walking Exercises
We’ll Help Keep You On Your Feet
Anyone can benefit from physical therapy, but it’s often essential for those with chronic illnesses or injuries. If you’re at high risk for falls, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you improve your strength and balance.
Our physical therapists at Centennial Sports & Physical Therapy can help if you live in or near Spokane. We can provide education and guided exercises and help determine what mobility aids might be needed to keep you on your feet. Call today to schedule a consultation.