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  • Marc Colclasure, PT, DPT

The Fear of Falling - And How to Reduce It


Ice, sleet, snow, black ice, slippery surfaces.

They all elicit feelings of discomfort to differing degrees. It may be related to the fear of driving incidents for some, while it may pertain more to the fear of falling and the after effects of falling for others.

Falling is an unfortunate reality and the issues caused by falling are real and problematic. It affects everyone, but it is most noticeable in the people it can affect the most, our older loved ones.

Here are some facts:

  • 1 in 3 Americans (65+) fall each year

  • Every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in the ER for a fall

  • Every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall

  • Falls without injury still cause fear of falling, leading to physical decline, depression and social isolation, all which further increase the risk of falling.

There are several ways to help our family members from falling. Here are some ways:

  • Make them aware: discuss statistics, discuss their health

  • Home safety check: lighting okay, stairs and railings safe, bathrooms and grabs bars convenient

  • Medical check ups: vision, health and effect on physical condition, medications

  • Community Based Programs: workshops, exercise programs, walking programs, tai chi, etc.

  • Physical Therapy: assess risk of falling, balance, gait, coordination, strength

WE CAN HELP… No matter what age, Synergy Family Therapy can help by improving someone’s balance, safety, gait, coordination, strength and even awareness, which can reduce a person’s risk of falling from a severe or high risk of falling to a low risk. Which in turn not only decreases the risk of falling, but also decreases the severity of the issues associated with falling. Falling is not inevitable. It can happen to you or your loved ones. It does not get better by just avoiding or limiting activities, as your physical function does not automatically maintain itself.

Consider taking an active stance for you and your family’s safety this season by considering all the ways you can help all of your family members stay safe and enjoy the holidays! While the gift of therapy may not fit under your Christmas tree, it very well might enable to get more of those family members out and safely enjoying this time of year!!

Resources:

American Physical Therapy Association (www.apta.org)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)

Area Agency on Aging (www.Eldercare.gov)

National Council on Aging (www.ncoa.org)

#Falling #Fear #FearofFalling #FallRisk #WinterWeather #Balance #Safety

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