The cost of falling
We have all had a fall at one point or another- especially as children- trivializing the topic which can make most of us disregard there potential severity. However these unexpected/ unintentional loss of balance, especially in the elderly population, results in significant injury, disability and even death.
Who is at the greatest risk of falling?
Individuals who are;
- Over 65
- Low body weight
- Require assistance with self-care tasks
As well as individuals who have
- * Had a previous fall
- Low blood pressure, orthostatic hypotension or are on blood pressure reduction medication
- Individuals on a number of medications
- Tendency to misuse alcohol
- Difficulties walking
- Reduced Strength, balance and coordination
- Or environmental hazards
How frequent are falls?
One in four people over 65 years of age are commonly impacted by falls since as we age body changes results in reduced muscle and bone strength, eyesight impairments and reduced balance/ coordination. As we age, this rate increases from 1 in 4 to 1 in 2 individuals at 80 years of age.
What increases your risk of injury?
1 in 5 falls will result in a serious injury including fractures, one of the most common being hip fractures, and head injuries. As well as age increasing your risk of a serious injury; osteoporosis, osteomalacia, cancer and other diseases impacting your bones increase your risk of fractures.
If you had a fall- what should you do?
If you are elderly and have had a fall, you should notify your medical professional of the fall. That way you can identify if there are any risk factors that can be addressed to reduce your risk of falling again. Clinical guidelines based on current research is focused on a falls PREVENTION with interventions including strength training, balance practice, gait re-education, medication changes, home assessments and education! As physiotherapists, we are able to help identify areas of risk of falling and work with you to help educate and improve strength, balance and gait patterns. This can either be done on a one to one bases or even part of a class; with the HSE offering a number of falls prevention classes throughout Ireland.
If you have experienced a fall, and would like to speak to a physiotherapist regarding your falls risk and prevention call us today at 045-853726 or book online at https://physiotherapyworks.ie/book-online/.
CDC. 2017. Important facts about falls. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
HSE. 2017. Falls. Retrieved from https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/f/falls/
NICE, 2017. Falls in older people. Retrieved from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs86/chapter/Quality-statement-3-Multifactorial-intervention
Tidy, C. 2016. Prevention of falls in the elderly. Retrieved from https://patient.info/doctor/prevention-of-falls-in-the-elderly-proLink text