What To Know

Approximately 30% of older adults will fall at least once each year. An injury, such as a fracture or sprain, will occur in 50% of those who fall. In turn, these injuries can lead to new disability or loss of independence, a fear of falling or withdrawal from participation in normal activities, and sometimes death.

Falls account for 84% of injury-related admissions of older adults to hospital, 40% of all nursing home admissions, and a 10% increase in home-care service use. In Canada, it is estimated that the health care costs from falls among older adults are one billion dollars each year.

Falls are not a normal part of aging, however, physical changes that occur with aging can increase the older adult’s risk of falling. Some of these changes include declines in muscle strength and flexibility, slower balance reflexes, and vision problems. Diseases can also increase a person’s risk for falling such as arthritis, stroke or inner ear problems that cause dizziness. Prescription medications, including those for blood pressure control, can also increase the risk of falling.

Falls can be prevented

The good news is that physiotherapists can provide effective treatments to prevent falls and aid an older adult’s return to optimal function after a fall. The risk of falling in older adults can be reduced when strength-building and balance exercises, activities and interventions are prescribed by a physiotherapist. Working with the Dunbar Physios will allow older adults to stay active and remain living independently in the community.

Are you at risk?

  1. Have you fallen in the last year?
  2. Are you currently taking four or more prescription medications?
  3. Do you have a history of stroke or Parkinson’s disease?
  4. Do you have any problems with your balance?
  5. Are you unable to stand up from a chair without using your arms?
  6. Have you limited your recreational or social activities due to a fear of falling?

A YES answer to any of these questions indicates an ELEVATED RISK for falls. Answer YES to THREE OR MORE questions, and there is a HIGH RISK of falls.

We at Dunbar Physio recognise the importance of preventing the falls before they occur rather than treating the injuries after the fall.

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