Fall Prevention

Mar4th 2019

Did you miss our Fall Prevention Talk last month? Here are some highlights!

Have you fallen in the last 12 months? Do you ever worry about falling?

30% of people age 65 or older fall each year.1 This is a leading cause of death in this age group. This number goes up to 43.6% in ages 85 or older and twice as many women fall as compared to men.

There are three systems that help us with balance: visual, vestibular, and somatosensory. The visual system relies on cues from our surroundings for where we are located in comparison to the environment. The vestibular system is located within the inner ear and gives us information about where our head is at in space. Finally, somatosensation lets us know where the rest of our body is at by using joint angles, etc. We rely on all three of these systems to prevent us from falling. When one or two of these systems is not working, we rely on fewer cues and are more likely to fall. Some examples with this are with decreased visual acuity, peripheral neuropathy or numbness, fatigue, dizziness, stroke, and others. We must have 2 sensory systems intact for standing balance whether we are on a level, hard surface or an uneven, compliant surface. Medication use and orthostatic hypotension (drop in blood pressure with changing positions) may also play a role in falling.

Here are some tips to help prevent falls:

  • Get your eyes and ears checked regularly
  • Remove throw rugs or thick mats in all rooms of your house to avoid tripping
  • Use a night light at night
  • Use grab bars, assistive devices
  • Inspect your shoe quality
  • Exercise daily to improve strength and endurance

It is also important to have a plan in place just in case you do fall, so you can call for help. Some examples of this are keeping a cell phone on you at all times or on all floors of the house.

If you or someone you know is worried about falling or has fallen, come see us to learn more about preventing falls!

References

  1. Statistics about falls – American Bone Health. https://americanbonehealth.org/fall-prevention/statistics-about-falls/.