As we age, we face many physical changes that can influence our strength, agility, flexibility, and endurance. Falls can pose a risk to the independence of seniors: a third of adults over 65 will suffer a fall each year as a result of the decline in physical strength and balance, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These falls can lead to injuries that can affect your mobility.
Rehabilitation and prevention of falls can assist you in maintaining your functional independence. A detailed method to rehabilitation can progress your quality of life after a fall. Rehabilitation aims to prevent falls, decrease future injury, and improve your mobility and function in your community.
Rehabilitation services are there to assist you in increasing and regaining your endurance, strength, and physical independence after a fall. Successful rehabilitation approaches include education about falls, modification of your living environment, and creation of exercise programs and balance-improvement strategies.
The Initial Evaluation
If you have had a fall and require rehabilitation, you will be working with licensed physical and occupational therapists. During the evaluation, your therapist will review your physical impairments, past medical history, history and circumstances of falls, and your vision. Your therapist will then conduct an assessment of your standing balance, joint limitations, walking problems, lower-body weakness, and any adaptive equipment such as cane, walker, or wheelchair.
Exercise to Decrease Your Fall Risk
The exercises the therapist chooses will decrease your fall risk by improving your overall strength, flexibility, mobility, balance, and postural stability. The physical or occupational therapist may have you perform your exercises while sitting, standing, or in combinations of the two to work various muscles and increase your confidence in standing.
Fall Prevention Strategies
The prevention of falls can increase your functional mobility. The use of proper transfer techniques and moderate exercise to maintain your mobility are essential components of a complete rehabilitation program.
Physical and occupational therapy can assist you in learning how to deal with fall risks present in the community. For example, your therapist may have you practice walking through an obstacle course designed with obstacles you may face in real life.
Future falls can be decreased with a home-hazard assessment. Home visits by physical or occupational therapists can help you discover and modify areas within your home where you may be susceptible to falling. Your therapist may even suggest a medical alert device as a form of communication in the event of a future fall.
When your rehabilitation goals have been met, your therapist will issue you a home exercise program. This program will target your physical impairments, maintain your achieved level of function, and can increase your functional independence. Your therapist can assist you in discovering exercise options in your community beyond rehabilitation. In addition, the physical and occupational therapists will educate you and your family members regarding fall prevention and your risk factors for falls.