Too often we hear and see how recurrent falls impact on a person’s emotional state and the anxiety they cause for their loved ones. Falls have been shown in research to be one of the leading cause of fractures and emergency department visits by our seniors.
Changes in walking pattern and poor balance may cause people to fall. Since 2011, it was recommended by The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) that adults aged 65 years and older be screened for falls. Physiotherapists have the skills to ask the right questions in screening for risk of falling and are able to refer for further investigations when required. Physiotherapy is widely recommended for falls prevention especially in people who have impaired balance and walking pattern.
What can I do to reduce my risk of falling?
A thorough assessment by a physiotherapist can the reasons for the falls. A structured exercise program can often be incorporated to your daily activities to target the identified issues. A tailored intervention over a period of 3-6 months has been shown to be the most effective treatment.
Physiotherapists are trained to tailor an exercise intervention according to one’s individual ability. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach as each and everyone of us is built differently. We ensure that the movement training that you do are challenging your ability so you can improve each and every day!
What exercises are good for me?
A combined set of movements that address your strength and train your balance has been shown as the most effective strategy to improve walking and reduce falls. Physiotherapists will guide you in finding the right frequency and intensity of the exercise that will result in optimal benefits for your own body.
An example of treatment program may include:
- Static activities – Exercises that challenge your ability to hold your centre of body weight over your base of support)
- Dynamic activities – Movements that require your arm or legs to move outside your base of support
- Dynamic gait retraining – Walking that may include turning and changing directions
- Dual-task training – Activities that require you to focus on two tasks at once
- Strengthening exercises – Leg, arm and core strengthening program
- Walking- Aerobic activity to optimise heart function and breathing
- Perturbation and stepping retraining – Training your reaction times in recovering from loss of balance
*Please note that this is a general plan only as everyone would need to be assessed prior to doing any exercise program
I want to take action in caring for my own body – but how?
If you or someone you know is experiencing falls or is fearful of falling, please seek an advice from your local health professional, or have one of our physiotherapists team to see you in the comfort and convenience of your own home. Our treatment programs are developed in your home environment to ensure they are functional and relevant to your rehabilitation goals. Our balance training program is based on the Otago Exercise Program, which has been well-researched in reducing falls. Let’s take action and get moving for better balance!
1Beauchet, O, Dubost, V., Revel-Delhom, G., Berrut, G. & Belmin, J. How to manage recurrent falls in clinical practice: Guidelines of the French society of geriatrics and gerontology. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 15(1): 79-84.
2Cadore, E.L., Rodriguez-Manas, L., Sinclair, A. & Izquierdo, M. (2013). Effects of different exercise interventions on risk of falls, gait ability, and balance in physically frail older adults: A systematic review. Rejuvenation Research. 16(2): 105-114.
3Doma, K., Grant, A. & Morris, J. (2018). The effects of balance training on balance performance and functional outcome measures following total knee arthroplasty: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine. 48(10): 2367-2385.
4Karlsson, M.K., Vonschewelov, T., Karlsson, C., Coster M. & Rosengen, B.E. (2013). Prevention of falls in the elderly: A review. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 41(5): 442-454.
5Shubert, T.E. (2011). Evidence-based exercise prescription for balance and falls prevention: A current review of the literature. J Geriatr Phys Ther, 34: 100-108.