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Did you know that more than 1 in 3 Canadians over 65 years old fall each year?  Did you know that half of those people will have injuries that threaten their mobility and independence?  Those are frightening facts and figures if you are at risk of falling.  Physiotherapy for elderly adults is important for rehabilitation after these injuries, but are there ways we can prevent them before they happen?

The question is are you at risk?  And, if you are, what can you do about it?

More than 90% of falls could be prevented by managing common risk factors.  The key is identifying which risk factors apply to you and proactively implementing changes with physiotherapy.  When I provide physiotherapy for elderly adults, I can often be heard reminding clients that “the easiest way to manage an injury, is not to have one at all!”.

Risk factors are typically described as either intrinsic (relating to your body) or extrinsic (relating to your environment).

Intrinsic risk factors include: advancing age, a history of falls, muscle weakness, decreased balance, poor vision and a fear of falling.  Obviously, not all of these factors can be modified with physiotherapy for elderly adults.  However, here are some simple ways to address the ones you can change:

  • Physiotherapy is a great way to learn exercises to improve your muscle strength and balance.  Often you can learn a program that can easily be done in the comfort and security of your own home.  Research has shown that you can improve strength and balance regardless of your age with exercises provided as physiotherapy for elderly adults.  A spin-off benefit of these improvements is an increase in confidence and a corresponding decrease in fear of falling.
  • Ensure you have your eyes checked regularly and remember to take your reading glasses off when walking.

Extrinsic risk factors include: inadequate or no handrails/grab bars, dim lighting, tripping hazards, slippery surfaces, improper use of an assistive device and medications.  The majority of extrinsic risk factors can either be eliminated or significantly reduced and are often topics of conversation when providing physiotherapy for elderly adults. Here are some simple ways you can begin to increase your safety today:

  • Install handrails/grab bars anywhere you feel your balance is compromised.
  • Wear relatively flat, closed-toed/heeled shoes with good traction (grip) on the sole.
  • Install night lights in hallways, stairwells and other poorly lit indoor areas; use a timer for outdoor lighting to keep walkways well-lit at night.
  • Remove area rugs, bath mats and runners that pose a tripping hazard.
  • Ensure you are using your gait aid (ie cane) properly (you can learn more about the proper use of gait aids with physiotherapy for elderly).
  • Take all medications as directed and review what you are taking regularly with your pharmacist

It is important to understand which risk factors apply to you and take action with physiotherapy to minimize your risk of falling.  Physiotherapy for elderly adults can provide you with individualized treatment and exercise to address some of these modifiable factors!

Book an assessment with Zoomers

Use our online booking tool to find a time that works for you!