By Justin Lee
Everyone has fallen at some point in their life. Perhaps it was the dreaded “toe stub” on a wall corner, or the missed step on a children’s toy that was left on the floor. When we are young, falling usually ends with a bump, bruise, and embarrassment of someone having witnessed our plunge. As we age, we lose bone density and our sense of balance; falling can lead to fractures. Many seniors who fall do not have the strength to get back up and may remain in that spot for hours. There are signs that can indicate if you are at risk of falling. Prevention includes improving our balance and having a safety net.
Senior citizens are not the only ones that can be susceptible to falls. However, their injuries are usually more severe because of their fragility and low body weight. Muscle mass and extra fat can help cushion the blow. Having a history of broken bones from previous falls puts you at a greater risk for future accidents. People with this history typically lose their confidence, making future falls more of a possibility. Weak bones can be a result of bone disorders such as Osteoporosis.
One out of every three seniors will be treated for a fall in the United States each year. Unfortunately, traumatic injuries to the hip or brain can result from these falls. Around half of all fall related injuries happen in our own homes due to potential hazards around the house. These hazards include poor lighting, disorganized objects on the floor, and overall clutter. Poor exercise leads to lack of strength, mobility, and balance. Poor vision, or glasses and contacts with the wrong prescription strength, can make judging the distance of hazards difficult.
A few changes in our households, and everyday lives, can help reduce falling risks:
1. Install lights on staircases and dimly lit areas of the house.
2. Place handrails anywhere there are stairs, as well as in the bathtub and shower walls.
3. Get into the habit of keeping everything in its designated place, boxes and shoes especially.
4. All rugs throughout the house should have either double stick tape or a non-slip backing.
5. Exercise to strengthen your muscles and bones.
6. Stay a phone call away from help by keeping a cell phone on you at all times.
7. Get routine checkups for your eyesight to make sure your vision is clear.
BIODEX is a system that trains the body to improve agility and balance through step-by-step training methods. The machine is able to diagnose your balance abilities within only a few minutes. BIODEX is a versatile system that not only provides a fast but accurate Fall Risk Screening Program. The program enhances confidence and mobility. This is a new and exciting advancement that can be found at the Goldstein Rehabilitation Center at Pines of Sarasota. Experienced therapists will assist you in the process of reclaiming your balance.
As we age, it seems that everyday life becomes filled with more hazards. Falling, which once seemed inconsequential, may now lead to life threatening injuries. For more questions regarding Fall Prevention, contact Joel Amistoso, Director of Rehabilitation, at (941) 552-1882. They are located at 1501 N. Orange Avenue in Sarasota. Also, feel free to visit their website at www.pinesofsarasota.org/rehab.html.
Pines of Sarasota