Fall Prevention In Elderly

Fall can happen anytime and anywhere to people of different ages. However, as we get older, number of fall increases with age which resulting injuries and fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in US, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people aged 65 and older. A person who falls may subsequently experiences pain, hospitalization, surgical intervention, admission to a nursing home and develops fear of falling. Fear of falling will cause further functional decline in an already frail patient.

Why Patient Falls?

Normal walking requires muscle strength, balance and coordination to allow proper gait. Freely moving joints, muscles contracting at the right time with the appropriate strength is important to support the body for normal gait and balance. As a person ages, he/ she may experience stiffened joints, decreased in muscle strength, reduced proprioceptive input which results in loss of balance and eventually increase the likelihood of falls. The risk of falling increases with a number of factors.

Risk Factors

1. Gait and balance impairment
2. Reduced muscle strength
3. History of falls
4. Obesity
5. Depression
6. Dizziness
7. Arthritis
8. Visual impairment
9. Medication

Falls put you at risk of serious injury. Still, fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Instead, consider these lifestyle choices to prevent falling.

1. Understand Your Health & Medications
– Talk to your doctor about the side effects of your medications and over the counter drugs, as fatigue or confusion increase your risk of falling. Take medications on schedule.

2. Remove Home Hazards
– Take away boxes, electrical cords, phone cords from the walkway.
– Shift coffee tables, magazine racks to the corner
– Immediately clean liquid spills and grease of foods
– Use non-slip mats in bathtub or shower.

3. Use Assistive Devices
– Install handrails for both sides of stairways
– Install grab bars for shower or tub

4. Physical Exercise
– Physical activity can go a long way towards fall prevention.
– Activities such as walking, water aerobics, and taichi will help improve muscle strength which in turn help in reducing risk of falling.
– If you are worried that you might fall during exercises, consider seeing a physiotherapist for a thorough consultation and assessment regarding your current physical fitness. The physiotherapist will create a custom exercise program aimed at improving the muscle strength, balance, coordination and proprioceptive input.

Here in Healthworks, our physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment and design a comprehensive exercise program for you. If there are any queries regarding this article, feel free to contact us at 018-9828539/ 03-6211 7533 or drop us an email at contact@myhealthworks.com.my