According to the CDC, one out of three adults aged 65+ fall each year, but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it. Falls can lead to multiple injuries including bruising, fractures, lacerations and concussions, with some even leading to death.
According to the American Family Physician Journal, a single fall does not always indicate a major problem. Patients should be evaluated if having recurrent falls (more than two falls in a six-month period). One fall can lead to someone having a fear of falling which ultimately can cause decreased mobility and lead to potential further risk for falling.
Risk factors for falling include:
- Loss of sensation in your feet
- Poor vision or visual loss
- Balance disorders
- Weak muscles in your legs
- Neurological conditions (i.e. Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease)
- Side effects from medication
- Poor management of assistive device (i.e. walker, cane, etc.)
- Cognitive impairment
- Low blood pressure
Ways to decrease your risk for falling:
- Remove rugs and clutter in your home
- Get your eyes checked regularly
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications
- Exercise regularly
- Get a prescription to be evaluated by a physical therapist
If you have fallen or have a fear of falling, talk to your doctor about it. If you are walking around holding onto someone or holding onto furniture/walls, you are at a risk for falling. Also, you could harm someone else if you are holding onto them for support. You may benefit from a physical therapy evaluation and potential treatment to improve balance and decrease your risk for falling. Don’t wait; schedule an appointment with your doctor or primary care physician.