Falls and Older Adults
There is a reason we are discussing falls this week. It is a problem that is unlikely to go away as we age.
In 2011, a study was performed that reviewed the number of falls resulting in injury in the United States. Almost 23,000 people over the age of 65 died and 2.4 million were treated in emergency departments because of falls.
You might not know that many falls are due to hazards in the home that are easy to overlook and simple to fix .
At the end of this article, we will offer you a link to a checklist (assembled by the U.S. Center for Disease Control) that can help you find and fix them, room by room.
It may be difficult to consider that your home is a place of risk instead of safety. But for older adults, especially those who live alone, recognizing that we have new challenges in how we are able to do things is very important.
I have found that as we age, we get more stubborn. (Raise your hand if this is you. Anyone?) We do things the way they have always been done because that is what has always worked. However, what worked even 5 years ago may not work now because of aging or illness or injury. What can make this more difficult to identify is that many of the changes we see in the aging process are gradual and hard to notice.
I have learned that my balance is one skill I have taken for granted. Ten years ago, I could put on leggings standing up. Now, I can, most of the time, but there better be a wall nearby. (Now you know more about me than you needed to, don’t you?)
Physical therapy is a valuable tool to help manage balance issues. A qualified physical therapist (like those at APM and Tygiel PT) can work with you to improve your function and strengthen your body. This can lower your risk and your discomfort immensely.
While it can be discouraging to recognize these changes in our bodies and systems, it is important not to ignore them. There are ways to help yourself be safer and more independent for longer. At the least, you or a loved one may be able to avoid a debilitating injury by using the tips offered here.
You can also join our fall prevention exercise program: https://physicaltherapytucson.com/fall-prevention