What Can YOU Do to Prevent Falls?
Many falls can be prevented. By making some changes, you can lower your chances of falling.
Five things YOU can do to prevent falls:
Know your risk!
See a licensed physical therapist for a fall risk assessment. Schedule today with Paradigm Physical Therapy & Wellness or ask your doctor for a referral.
535 US Hwy 314 SW
Los Lunas, NM 87031
Phone: (505) 866-0055
Fax: (505) 866-0057
1220 Camino del Llano
Belen, NM 87002
Phone: (505) 861-1200
Fax: (505) 861-1220
3900 Las Estancias Court S.W. Suite 102
Albuquerque, NM 87121
Phone: (505) 207-2344
Fax: (505) 207-2346
Have your healthcare provider review your medications.
Have your physical therapist provide exercises to improve your balance and strength.
Have your eyes and mobility checked, especially your legs and feet.
Safeguard your home by improving the lighting, installing hand grabs in the bath/shower, rails where necessary and ramps in place of stairs.
How do we find out who is at risk for a fall?
The American Geriatric Society published clinical practice guidelines recommending that adults aged 65 and older should be screened annually for fall risk. But, what does this entail? Your risk assessment will include a fall history, medication review, physical examination, and functional assessment.
Fall History: Previous falls are a predictor of future falls. So, we will discuss your fall history with particular interest in falls that have occurred within the past 6 months to a year. We will also delve into the circumstances of the falls (within the home or outside, if it was light or dark, shoe type, etc).
Medication Review: Certain medications can contribute to feelings of dizziness, light headedness, and decreased balance. As an example, psychoactive medications are independent predictors of falls and tend to alter balance and gait. If it is determined that your medications could be contributing to fall risk this will need to be discussed with your primary care physician.
Physical Examination: An effective physical examination is essential in helping to determine fall risk. We use specific and well researched tests to compare your balance scores against others within your demographic to predict fall risk. Some common tests include the Timed Up and Go and 5 Time Sit to Stand. These tests are non-taxing and do not require high levels of endurance or strength. In fact, in most cases each of these tests can be completed in less than 1 minute. Other elements of your physical examination might include vital signs for postural hypotension (taking blood pressure in sitting and standing), neurological testing, strength testing, gait assessment, a quick musculoskeletal evaluation, and a vision check.
It may be necessary to see your ophthalmologist as vision changes can affect balance and walking. Studies have shown that older adults tend to rely more heavily on visual input for balance and orientation and therefore changing or worsening eye sight, improper prescription lenses, etc. can have an impact on fall risk.
Functional Assessment: A functional assessment might be as simple as asking about your home environment and discussing how you’re able to navigate and live within this space. It also usually involves a quick questionnaire on general function and independence. An example will be discussing how many steps you have and then watching you ascend/descend stairs. From this information we will be able to suggest interventions or modifications to be made within the home.
It’s important to make changes within the home to reduce risk of falls but it is arguably even more important to make lifestyle changes and be knowledgeable about your or your loved ones personal risk factors.