Preventing Falls Starts at Home
Thank you for requesting more information on how to prevent falls at home. Below you will find a home safety check list to help you get you started!
Balance is maintained by using visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive input (sensory information sent to the brain from the muscles, joints, and skin). As we age our vision changes effecting our ability to accommodate to the dark or tolerate glare. Glaucoma, cataracts and diminished contrast sensitivity decrease our ability to visually orient ourselves to our surroundings. Changes occurring in the ears sensory cells that are used for maintaining balance (vestibular system) can lead to dizziness or unsteadiness.
Loss of muscle strength and decreased joint flexibility limit our motion and decrease our bodies ability to respond to a loss of balance. Nerves that carry proprioceptive input to the brain can also deteriorate with age and diseases, such as diabetes, decreasing our postural stability. Problems in one or more of these systems may have a significant impact on an individuals ability to maintain balance, increasing their risk for falling. Not all changes
Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in people over the age of 65 years. Approximately 33% of healthy individuals over the age of 65 fall annually. Falls may result in serious fractures and soft tissue injuries. Prolonged floor contact may lead to dehydration, pressure sores, hypothermia, pneumonia and increased fear of falls. Fear of falls may further lead to anxiety, depression, decreased community ambulation, and increased social isolation.
Falls may be prevented by; exercise and conditioning to increase strength and mobility, use of a cane or walker for balance, proper eyewear to improve vision, adjustments in medications that cause dizziness, routine medical check ups, and correction of diseases that could impair balance such as hypertension.
Home Safety Check List
- Place non-skid mats inside and outside of shower / tub
- Add hand rails for support when getting in and out of shower / tub
- Raise the toilet seat if too low
- Keep a portable phone in bathroom in case of falls
- Keep adequate lighting
- Keep floor dry
- Keep stairway well lit at all times, use night lights
- Keep stairs clean of all objects
- Install handrails that extend beyond the first and last step
- Install non–skid material on all steps
- Apply brightly colored tape to the first and last step if you have a vision problem
- Eliminate throw rugs
- Arrange electrical cords that could impede pathway
- Provide chairs with arms to assist with sit to stand
- Arrange furniture to reduce obstacles in pathways
- Remove raised thresholds in doorways to prevent tripping
- Avoid placing items on difficult to reach shelves
- Never stand on a chair to reach for something
- Keep floor clean & dry by cleaning up spills immediately
- Use non – skid floor wax
- Have adequate lighting including night lights where needed
Consider the use of a Lifeline system if you are at increased risk for falls!
Balance Solutions therapists provide a thorough evaluation, screening for all factors which may contribute to balance and gait deficits. Thorough screening allows our therapist to develop a specialized treatment plan with specific exercises to treat you effectively.
Balance exercises can range from simple exercises to more complex exercises depending on your age, activity level, impairments, personal goals and previous level of function. Functional strengthening exercises and core stabilization exercises are also incorporated to make sure you have the appropriate strength to regain your balance when needed.
Balance exercises are really good for anyone, but especially for those already experiencing difficulties with balance, who have a fear of falling, who experience dizziness or vestibular disorders, who have neurological conditions such as Parkison’s disease, neuropathy or have had a stroke, and for those who are experiencing or have a history of ankle, knee or hip pain/surgery.
The Balance Solutions Team treats hundreds of patients with increased risk for falls every year. With the aging population, balance issues are a daily complaint in our clinic!
It’s time to act and improve your balance, call (440) 449-3400 to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled physical therapists today. Balance Solutions Physical Therapy is here to help, offering advanced physical therapy intervention for fall risk prevention.
Balance Solutions Physical Therapy is located in Beachwood Ohio, just on the outskirt of Cleveland. Services offered include physical therapy, massage, myofascial release, Integrative Dry Needling, as well as Pilates mat and reformer private and class lessons.
Balance Solutions Physical Therapy, Inc located at 23175 Commerce Park, Beachwood Ohio 44122