Last year, I wrote a blog post about risk factors for falls. From a public health perspective, falling older adults consume a lot of resources. On a more personal level, an older adult who falls is someone’s spouse, parent, grandparent, or friend.
So, let’s say you have found 2 or 3 falls risk factors do in fact apply to you or your loved one.
- Walking problems
- Cognitive impairment
- Use of walking aid (cane, walker etc)
- History of falls
- Previous stroke
- Physical disability
- Fear of falling
- Living alone
- Vision issues
- Use of sedatives
- Use of blood pressure medication
- Age per 5 year increase
- Each prescription medication
You can’t change all of the factors on that list, so what options do we have? Falls prevention exercise programs are becoming more popular, and my motivation for this post was an article in the New York Times from my homeland of the Netherlands. The Dutch are ageing just like we are in Canada, and have developed programs to deal with this issue. These classes usually run twice a week and include both exercise and instruction on to fall/get up from a fall. All sessions are supervised by a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist.
I would encourage you to click the link and see what they are doing in these sessions.
The structure and organization might be difficult to replicate, but the specifics are not. Any number of these activities can be helpful. A supervized program with balance, strength training, falls practice AND home modification can help to make older adults safer and more independent in their homes.
At Palermo Physiotherapy and Wellness, our team of Physiotherapists all have experience with developing and implementing falls prevention programs. In addition, the Ministry of Health through the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) coordinate some government funded programs. A list of resources is included below. Collectively, our goal is to keep older adults healthy and happy throughout the golden years and our team of Physiotherapists prepared to help you or your family member in achieving these goals.
Seniors’ INFOline at 1-888-910-1999
MScPT, BA Kin