One of the most common but disregarded health threats we face as we age is falling. As we age, we are much more prone to falling than when we were younger. Moreover, the dangers and risks of those falls are much greater as well. This is why falls prevention is so important, especially for the elderly—so if your doctor recommended that you partake in fall prevention therapy, it is a very smart decision to agree, and it may even save your life.
Seniors are at a higher risk of falling than younger people because they are generally frailer. According to a recent review of over 100 individual studies with over 55,000 participants, the risk of falling for those over the age of 65 in any given year is about 30 percent. What’s more, about 20 percent of those falls will require medical attention; fortunately, less than 10 percent will result in a fracture.
With age comes a decrease in muscle tone, eyesight deterioration, slower reflexes, and more brittle bones. In addition, many elderly people have osteoporosis, and when they fall, their bones are much likelier to break, subjecting them to painful fractures, back pain, and other problems. Furthermore, these bones take much longer to heal when they are brittle. Falls prevention is the best treatment in order to lower the risk of sustaining serious injuries through falling.
Side effects of medication can also contribute to falling problems in the elderly— some common drugs can cause dizziness and impair balance. Blood-thinning medications pose an additional risk. The problem with these medications is that if you happen to fall and injure yourself, these medications can cause excessive bleeding. This is particularly dangerous if you hit your head during a fall.
Certain types of falls have more serious consequences than others. In the case of hip fracture victims, studies show that as many as a quarter die within a year of falling, and almost two-thirds lose the ability to perform day-to-day tasks without assistance.
If you think you may benefit from falls prevention therapy, don’t delay—call a high-quality physical therapy center and make an appointment. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.