The presence of dizziness or vertigo in the elderly is a strong predictor of falls which is the leading cause of accidental death in adults 65 and older and account for 40% of nursing home admissions.
Falls are particularly prevalent above age 75 and in the elderly often result in injury, such as wrist and hip fractures, and can lead to declining independence and a progressively sedentary lifestyle.
At Excel Therapy, we are no stranger to treating patients who have experienced injury due to falls. Through experience, we have believe it’s important to keep moving safely to maintain health and independence, resulting in an overall decrease in demand on the medical system.
Caregivers know it can be a daunting task to protect a loved one from the many risks associated with physical decline. It’s important to identify the possible risks and have a plan in place to minimize those risks as much as possible.
The American Geriatric Society has identified many factors that contribute to an increased risk for falling including:
- Polypharmacy (more than 4 daily medications)
- Gait and balance changes
- Decreased visual acuity
- Neurological impairments
- Decreased muscle strength
- Changes in heart rate and rhythm
- Postural hypotension
- Foot deformity and poor foot wear
- Environmental hazards
While our physical therapists at Excel Therapy may not able to address all issues, we can evaluate and address deficits related to many of them. Our highly skilled physical therapy team can evaluate a patient’s risk for falls based on functional tests, such as the Berg Balance Scale, and then implement a rehabilitation program based on the evaluation findings. A typical rehab program may include:
- Strengthening activities primarily of the lower extremities
- Core stabilization
- Static and dynamic balance activities
- Stretching to obtain adequate LE and trunk mobility
- Balance correction strategies
- Assess need for assistive device
- Transfer training
- Footwear assessment and recommendation
- Vestibular assessment
- Discussion of environmental hazards and recommendations for correction
Falling doesn’t have to be a natural part of the aging process. Fight back and contact your an Excel Therapy location near you to learn more about all the ways to minimize the risk of harm for you or your loved one.