Majority of us have fallen at some point in our life, either as a little kid learning to walk or during our adult life slipping on ice during winter. For most of us we were able to get up and move on with our day with no significant problem but for the senior population this is can be a different story. 20-30% of seniors will experience at least one fall which is the leading cause of injury for older Canadians and a fall not only causes various injuries and hospitalizations but also is linked with a reduced functional capacity, fear of falling, and earlier admission to an LTC facility. In order to reduce or prevent a fall from occurring we need to understand why someone is experiencing these falls. Factors that may be influencing a fall can be a decrease muscle strength, reduced range of motion, poor balance, poor vision, uneven surfaces, physical environment, co-morbidities and associated medication.
It is important that if an individual has had a recurrent fall (2 or more in the last year), an unexplained fall, has problems with balance/walking, or a fear of falling then it is advisable to seek out a health-care practitioner that has experience in completing a falls assessment to help identify the main areas of concern and develop an individualized falls program. A program can consist of gait training, strength/flexibility/balance training, environmental modification, education, medication adjustments, and medical management. Having an individualized falls prevention program has the potential to decrease hospitalizations, injuries, functional decline, helps promote awareness of falls and independence, creates a safer physical environment, and improves overall health.
By seeing an experienced health care practitioner such as a GP, Occupational Therapist, Chiropractor, or Physiotherapist, they can help address areas of concern and how to fix those issues. Listed below are examples of what your practitioner might include a program.