Tips to Prevent Falls

January 31, 2018

Did you know that at least one in four adults over the age of 65 fall each year? Not only can falling be painful, it can also be very dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.”

The good news is there are ways to prevent falls. Below are several tips:

  • Take a Tai Chi class. Exercises such as this can help improve your balance while providing other health benefits.
  • Take care of your orthopedic problems. Back, hip, knee, and ankle issues, along with weak core musculature, can add to your problems. A physical therapist can provide you with exercises to address your individualized needs.
  • Light up dark hallways and walkways.
  • Remove clutter and/or loose rugs.
  • Install handrails on stairs and grab bars in the bathroom.
  • Keep up with regular eye exams.
  • Talk to your doctor to see if any of your medications may cause side effects such as dizziness.
  • Take care of your incontinence to prevent frequent trips to the bathroom at night. Keep in mind that specialized physical therapists can help with these issues.
  • Wear good shoes that help prevent slipping and provide good support for your feet.

Teri Elliott-Burke, PT, M.H.S., WCS, PRPC, BCB-PMD, Assistant Professor at Midwestern University and Academic Clinic Coordinator at the Midwestern Multispecialty Clinic, reminds us that “balance is a key ingredient to a maintaining health as we age. We need balance for simple tasks like walking and going up and down curbs and stairs, in addition to performing more complex tasks such as ice skating or yoga. In physical therapy, we see great improvements in balance over the course of three to four weeks of treatment. No matter what your age, if you have a balance problem, consider seeing a physical therapist.”

The Physical Therapy Institute at Midwestern University’s Multispecialty Clinic is an outpatient center run by Physical Therapy faculty, whose goal it is to return patients to the highest level of function and wellness possible while utilizing evidenced-based practice, compassion, and outstanding service. For more information, please contact the Physical Therapy Institute in Illinois at 630.743.4500.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not for use in diagnosing any condition. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment and does not establish a provider/patient relationship. Always consult your own physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions regarding any possible medical condition.

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