How Physical Therapy Helps to Prevent Falls in the Elderly?
Are you aware of the fact that every 1 in 3 elderly has a fall? Not only falls can lead to severe injuries but also cause seniors to become less active. The fear of falling lingers on, which affects the overall health of the aged adults and prevents them to react appropriately when they lose balance. Balance is affected by several factors like, medications, posture, gait and strength deficits and other disorders.
Studies show that fall prevention can be improved through physical therapy. For seniors, it is essential to improve safety and avoid falls. Therapists who are trained in body function and movement use certain techniques to avoid this circumstance.
Customised Exercise Programs
This focuses on improving flexibility, balance and strength. It also helps in improving risk factors like, vision, feeble leg muscles, poor balance, peripheral neuropathy. As there are certain drugs which affect balance, a qualified therapist will plan a program that suits an individual body. A few exercises include such as simple dance steps, walking sessions, walking in figure 8s or circle, weight training, obstacle course and more. Exercise programs are designed by keeping safety and effectiveness in mind. It is suggested that the elderly must try these out at home or a proper therapy location under the guidance of a therapist.
Equipment like walkers and cranes are highly useful. Assistive devices do not let to lose balance, hence, they become a perfect companion for an elderly adult. However, a physical therapist is better to decide if an individual requires such devices or not.
Home Risk Assessment
Do you know that certain features of the home can increase fall? This is where a therapist can help people. He or she makes home safe and sound through a home risk assessment. During this session, he or she may bring tiny changes in the home like,
- Getting rid of an old rug and buy non-skid carpets or rugs
- Re-organising closets or kitchens, keeping useful items within reach
- Placing handrails on each side of stairs
- Adding light to certain dim areas of the house
- Putting grab bars in the bathroom, making it convenient to stand-up
Resources for Fall Prevention
Here, a multidisciplinary approach is adopted. For stronger safety and security, the therapist connects a senior to different health professionals, which may include:
- Cardiologists for vascular and cardiac problems that affect balance
- Pharmacists for issues in balance caused by drugs
- Ophthalmologists or Optometrists for vision issues
- ENT for inner-ear balance issues
Physical therapy is an amazing method that helps aged individuals to maintain balance. This is recommended for those who have reported difficulty in walking or having an unsteady body balance. Seniors can get in touch with certain organisations which offer free programs and sessions to support them.