Preventing Falls In Older People

on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 in Glenhuntly Physiotherapy Clinic. No Comments

Approximately 30% of people over 65 years of age living in the community may experience a fall each year. Falls can result in fractured hips, severe back pain, with significantly reduced function and disability. A recent study reviewed the Healthcare literature to establish which falls prevention interventions are most effective for older people living in the community, and included over 79,000 participants. The results are as follows:

Group and home-based exercise programs
Usually balance and strength training exercises, Pilates or Tai Chi effectively reduces falls and fractures.

Improving home safety
This is effective specially when carried out by occupational therapists. For example, better lighting in dark areas, removing loose rugs or clutter that one could trip over, and installing hand rails around the toilet and in the shower where an older person could slip.

According to this study, it also appears that some medications increase the risk of falling. Drugs for improving sleep, reducing anxiety, and treating depression (psychotropic medication) have been implicates in falls.
Speak to your doctor if you feel like your balance or mobility has been affected since you started a new medication. Your GP may be able to alter your dose to help improve those symptoms.

What we can do to help
If you are concerned about falling and your mobility and independence has been adversely affected by it, a consultation with a physiotherapist is recommended. We can assess your risk of falling and design a specific exercises program to help improve your strength and balance. Some mobility aids may also be necessary.
Let us help you get stronger, increase your ability and confidence and reclaim your independence!

Call us on 9532 8001, one of our Physios will gladly help you to help yourself, with a program you can manage at home.

Gillespie LD, Robertson MC, Gillespie WJ, Sherrington C, Gates S, Clemson LM, Lamb SE. “Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD007146. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007146.pub3.