Fall Prevention And How Physiotherapy Helps

Fall Prevention And How Physiotherapy Helps

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Falls are the leading cause of injury and hospitalization for seniors. The cost to treat a fall that requires hospitalization is estimated to range from $20,000 to $30,000 meaning that the Canadian health-care system spends more than $2 billion on the treatment of those hospitalized due to falls each year. For those who are injured but not hospitalized, many of the costs to patients and families are not covered by the health system. These include time off work to be with an injured loved one, costs of home care, medication and other out-of-pocket expenses.

In fact, the financial consequences of falls are only the tip of the iceberg. For many seniors a fall is the beginning of a process of decline, leading to fear of falling, increased mobility restrictions, decreased independence and function and, in many cases, institutionalization. The fear of falling often precipitates an increased risk of and incidence of falls.

Could you be at risk of falling?

  • Have you had a fall in the last year?
  • Are you taking four or more medications a day?
  • Do you have Parkinson’s disease or a history of stroke?
  • Do you feel you have any balance problems?
  • Are you able to stand up from a chair without using your arms for support?
  • Are you limiting what you do due to fear of falling?

If you answered YES to three or more of the above questions then you are at high risk of falling and could benefit from the help of a physiotherapist.

Go to this link to find out more on what can be done to prevent a fall. http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/4356.asp

How can physiotherapy help?
A physiotherapist will assess your risk of falling based on your health and will develop an activity program just for you. This will include some exercises to strengthen your legs and improve your balance. They will also discuss options for being active in a way that suits you. Keeping on the move is really important. Your physiotherapist can help with:

  • Improving your balance and strength
  • Education on how to reduce your risk of falling
  • Designing an activity program to suit your needs
  • Advice on how to make your home safer
  • Teaching you safe ways to get up if you do have a fall
  • Showing you how to keep active
  • Getting you involved in a community-based exercise program

Some physiotherapists offer home visits and they can make sure your home is as safe as possible to reduce your risk of falling. Movement of certain furniture and adding support at the right locations can make your house a safer and fall free environment. This might include stronger lightingand removing rugs from bare floors because you can slip and fall. Physiotherapists can also advise you on suitable footwear and walking aids if you need them.

Exercise is really important for reducing the risk of falls. Lack of exercise leads to poor muscle tone, decreased strength and loss of bone mass – all of these factors can contribute to falls and the severity of injury after a fall. A physiotherapist will be able to advise you on the amount and type of exercise best for you.

In the end, to prevent a fall, you ought to incorporate healthier lifestyle, from your diet to your exercise.