One-third of adults over the age of 65 are likely to fall this year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. They probably won’t be the only ones harmed.
"It's important to realize that falls among older persons, with their staggering physical, emotional as well as economic consequences, have the potential to impact not only patients, but all members of a family," Robert Glatter, MD, wrote in Forbes ("Why Falls Should Be Part Of The Doctor-Patient And National Conversation For Older Persons" – July 28, 2015).
Falls cause everything from scrapes and bruises to broken arms, and 95% of hip fractures. Indeed, with falls leading to more than 700,000 hospitalizations per year, related medical costs exceed $30 billion.
The good news is that research shows that older adults can proactively prevent falls and their dangerous consequences with the help of a physical therapist.
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials ("The effectiveness of physical therapist-administered group-based exercise on fall prevention: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials" – October-December 2013) demonstrated that group-based exercises led by a physical therapist are effective for decreasing fall frequency, increasing balance, and improving quality of life. The results also suggested the group-based exercises promoted greater patient satisfaction and exercise adherence. Additionally, physical therapists can evaluate a person's fall risk and create a personalized plan to improve your balance and strength.
Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
- Physical Therapy Guide to Falls
- Physical Therapy Guide to Balance Problems
- Podcast: Falls and the Role of Physical Therapy
- Health Center for Older Adults
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