Every year 1/3 of t5he population over 65 experiences a fall. The older you get the % increases.
25% of falls result in an injury such as hip fracture. And falls are the #1 reason for admit to SNF
Once you have a fall there is a higher risk of subsequent falls)fear of falling leads to decreased activity level which leads to decreased strength, flexibility and mobility)
The more risk factors you have the greater your risk for a fall (peripheral neuropathy, parkins, MS diabetes, CVA, leg weakness) Because of the statistics it is very important to help find ways to reduce your risk of falling to improve health and mobility.
It is a common myth that you get older your balance steadily declines. Studies show that the balance of a 70 year is similar to a 50 year old if there is no pathology. The most important thing is to stay active.
What is Balance? Balance is the ability to maintain your center of gravity over your base of support. Your balance relies on your brain, muscles, bones and your 3 balance systems to help you stay upright.
There are 3 sensory systems that help you with your balance/ These 3 work together to help maintain balance in every environment (level, grass and dark)
The 3 balance systems are:
Visual-(affected by diabetes and macular degeneration)
Somatosensory-ability to feel the ground (affected by CVA, DM, peripheral neur)
vestibular system-tells you where you are at in space and if you are moving when your eyes are closed. It also helps keep your eyes in focus when your head is moving. Deficits in the vestibular systems can lead to vertigo or dizziness usually with movements. Inner ear infection, BPPV, vestibular hypo function.
Often as we get older we begin to use the visual system more than other systems so the somatosensory and vestibular systems get week and won’t kick in when we need them to.
Causes of imbalance and falls
decrease strength endurance and flexibility
decrease processes DM, CVA, peripheral neuropathy
environment hazards (rugs)
How can you decrease the risk of falling?
stay active find an exercise routine-walk
Use an assistive device to improve safety
Modify the home environment (rugs, railing by the steps, phone within reach)
Consistent Exercise routine
PT focus on:
Strengthening and endurance training
Dynamic walking Activities
Marching in place
Romberg eyes upon and closed
walking with head turns
Thanks Jill for leading this discussion.