Updated: Aug 3, 2019
There are multiple reasons why I ask the people I help the following question, “Have You Had A Fall Within The Past Year?“ today I want to share some insight of why this question and a few other questions are fundamental to ask if you are aged 65+.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2007 to 2016 for older adults fall death rates in the U.S. have increased by 30%.
Let’s talk about falls, and why it’s imperative, we try to reduce the risk. Falling can be not only detrimental to our health, but it also negatively impacts our physical well-being. Falling can result in injuries that can be life altering and have been shown to lead to severe complications and even death. It is highly essential to consider all factors when thinking of balance and walking problems and in particular falls.
As a leading provider of geriatric physical therapy and fitness services, I primarily work with individuals aged 65+, and most people think falling is a “normal” part of aging and getting older. Believe it or not, that’s a MYTH!! Here is an excellent resource regarding the National Council on Aging discussing “Debunking The Myths Of Older Adult Falls”.
So, “Have You Had a Fall Within The Last Year?” ...What is your response?
If the answer is ‘YES’ then I would dig deeper and ask the following two questions: “How many times have you fallen? As a result of the fall(s) were you injured?”
The number of times you have fallen is crucial because it only takes one phone to sustain an injury or to impact your self-confidence negatively. Having only one fall without an injury still places you at a high risk of having a future fall. However, having two or more falls is an indicator that you should consider having a healthcare provider for a multifactorial assessment.
Now let’s talk about if your answer to the question “have you had a fall within the past year? “ and your response is ‘NO’. Although you have not had any falls in the past year you may want to consider asking yourself a couple of crucial follow-up questions, “Do you feel unsteady when you are standing or walking? “ and “ are you worried about falling?”
Having an unsteady feeling when you’re standing or walking can be caused by multiple reasons, but this feeling of unsteadiness can be detrimental to your ability to perform the daily task you need to function as a thriving older adult. Also, this unsteady feeling can lead to having a fear of falling. Research has shown if you have a fear of falling or are worried about falling, it can increase the chances of it predicting a future fall.
If you have answered ‘YES’ to any of the listed questions above or if you have answered ‘YES’ to having a fall within the past year, the CDC recommends for you to have a healthcare professional, like a physical therapist, take a look at your walking, strength and balance.
There’s so much you can do regarding addressing falls and balance problems, and I could go much more in-depth on ways to eliminate the risk of falls than the principles I’ve given you here, but these fundamentals, will make a massive difference to the quality of your life.
If you are looking for ways to 'Fall Proof Your Home', check out our blog post CLICK HERE.
Physical therapy will be an excellent solution for your current situation. If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like to arrange a FREE phone call with a physical therapist CLICK HERE.
Talk more soon!!
P.S. If you’re experiencing difficulty in your walking and/or balance which restricts your ability to get around your home without feeling worried, please download the walking and balance tips report which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC.
Click here to get your free copy: https://prestigetherapywellness.lpages.co/walking-balance-freebie/