We have all been victims of losing our balance or feeling unsteady, but for individuals in the later stage of their life, these things can become much more common. Unfortunately what can come hand in hand with this is the risk of falling. Falls are one of the major causes of hospital admissions and overall disability for older adults. Therefore, it is important to address any possible causative factors leading individuals to this risk.
As we age we have alterations in our mobility, gait, strength, proprioception, reaction time and vision. Another major area which can be compromised is our balance system. This can develop from the above factors, as well sedentary lifestyle and overall disability. With these contributing factors present, a person may lack the ability to recover effectively and safely enough to prevent a fall from happening.
So what steps can be taken to reduce this risk? Firstly, physiotherapists and/or other health professionals can work together to determine an individual’s risk factors and therefore put measures in place to address them accordingly. In relation to the aforementioned contributing factors, research points towards targeted exercises as having the most effective outcomes for reducing fall rates. Engagement in a multi-faceted program which consists of balance, strengthening, and proprioception training has shown great outcomes for falls prevention. Exercise should also be engaging and fun for patients to help encourage adherence. Group settings can be a great option for this older population as it can keep individuals motivated and create a social setting/environment.
So if you are interested in learning more, or being engaged in your own falls prevention program then jump into clinic with one of our physiotherapists or give our group balance class a go.