Fight Back Against the Fear and Reality of Falling

Daniel Kane, Clinical Director of JAG Physical Therapy’s West Orange facility recently held a Slips and Falls Prevention Seminar at the Livingston Community Center. JAG Physical Therapy believes strongly that the prevention of falls can be an important element in keeping people in good health.  It is a stark fact that one out of every three adults that are 65 years old or older has a fall each year.

Those falls stand out even more with recent statistics that showed there were actually over 2.1 million non-fatal fall injuries in older adults that wound up being treated in emergency rooms.  When senior adults have fractures – most are attributed to falls.  In fact, some reports show that a range of 30 to 50 percent of elderly people has a fear of falling.

That brings us to a famous quote by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.  That fear results in many different things – decreased activity level, decreased strength, anxiety, depression and the increased likelihood of falling.

Prevention is thus exceptionally important.  Candidates for falls should have a routine of exercise.  When a physician has cleared the exercise, a small to moderate program should be executed on almost a daily basis.  There should be no couch potatoes, and that means that people should have an active lifestyle that includes remaining socially active.  There is no shame in discussing the fear of falling.  Everyone should have family and friends providing support so they do not feel alone.

Some adjustments to the home environment can also help.  People should move throw rugs and other items such as furniture, vases, shoes, stools and cords out of the way of potential walk areas.  Large area rugs should have their corners taped down to the floor.  There is no embarrassment in having grab rails in a bathroom, stair case or bedroom.  When a person is fighting a disability, they should also consider things such as shower chairs, tub benches, elevated toilet seats, commodes and grabbers.  At the same time, simple things like storing items on lower shelves or consolidating items is also helpful.  Lighting is another element that is sometimes forgotten and it is easy to add more lights in dark spots in the home.

It is important to be smart and have a plan in place that will assist if you fall.  Who can help you if there is a problem and where is the cell phone or home phone?  Is a lifeline device now needed by the person?  JAG Physical Therapy is a place about people.  If you have a question or need some additional information, send us an email at info@jagpt.com.