As we age, the risk of falls and fractures increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Canada, one in four individuals aged 65 and over will fall each year, with falls being the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in this population. For elderly patients, falls can have significant consequences, including fractures, head injuries, and a loss of independence. Fortunately, geriatric physiotherapy can play an important role in fall prevention and fracture risk reduction. Click here to learn more about geriatric physiotherapy.
Assessing Fall Risk
One of the first steps a geriatric physiotherapist will take in fall prevention is assessing a patient's fall risk. This involves evaluating factors such as balance, gait, strength, and range of motion, as well as assessing the patient's living environment and any medications they may be taking that could affect their balance. Based on this assessment, the physiotherapist can develop an individualized plan for fall prevention that is tailored to the patient's unique needs and circumstances.
Balance and Strength Training
One of the key components of fall prevention is improving balance and strength. Geriatric physiotherapists can design exercise programs that are specifically geared towards improving balance and strength, such as practicing standing on one leg, performing Tai Chi movements, or using resistance bands to build muscle. These exercises not only help to improve balance and strength, but can also increase overall mobility, reduce pain, and improve confidence in daily activities.
In addition to balance and strength training, gait training can also be an important component of fall prevention. Geriatric physiotherapists can work with patients to help them improve their walking patterns, reduce any irregularities in their gait, and improve their overall mobility. This can involve exercises such as practicing heel-to-toe walking or walking on different surfaces, as well as using assistive devices such as walkers or canes if necessary.
Geriatric physiotherapists can also help patients identify and modify potential hazards in their living environments that could increase the risk of falls. This can include suggestions such as removing clutter, improving lighting, installing grab bars in bathrooms, or using non-slip mats or rugs. By making these modifications, elderly patients can reduce their risk of falling and improve their overall safety in their homes.
Certain medications can increase the risk of falls in older adults. Geriatric physiotherapists can work with patients and their doctors to identify any medications that could be affecting balance or increasing fall risk, and make recommendations for potential modifications or alternatives.
Consider Booking at Absolute Health & Wellness
Fall prevention is a crucial aspect of promoting healthy aging and reducing the risk of fractures and other injuries in older adults. Geriatric physiotherapists play an important role in fall prevention by assessing fall risk, designing individualized exercise programs to improve balance and strength, providing gait training, and making recommendations for environmental modifications and medication management. If you or a loved one is concerned about fall risk or fracture risk, a geriatric physiotherapist can help. At Absolute Health & Wellness, our experienced and compassionate team of physiotherapists is dedicated to providing the best possible care to older adults, helping them to maintain their independence and quality of life as they age. Call 519 442 2206 or book online.
Interested in learning more?
Read on in our series of articles on Geriatric Physiotherapy!
About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera
Dr. Johann is a fully licensed Naturopathic Doctor. His approach emphasizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s health naturally. Dr. Johann obtained a Doctor of Naturopathy at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Education at CCNM is a vigorous four years, with a curriculum involving biomedical sciences, physical diagnosis, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle management.
While Dr. Johann has a general practice, he focuses on fertility, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and autoimmune disease.
To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.