Have you ever fallen before? Do you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting spells? Are there mobility issues, such as difficulty walking, getting up from a chair, or using stairs?
Falls prevention is a crucial aspect of maintaining health and well-being, particularly as we age. Each year, millions of individuals worldwide suffer from fall-related injuries that can have far-reaching consequences. In this blog post, we will discuss the significance of falls prevention, the factors that contribute to falls, and effective strategies to reduce the risk of falls. Whether you’re a healthcare professional, a caregiver, or someone seeking to safeguard their own safety or that of a loved one, understanding falls prevention is paramount. Let’s explore the essential principles and practices that can help ensure a safer and more secure future.
According to the Government of Canada (2021), Falls represent the primary cause of injuries in the elderly population in Canada, affecting 20-30% of seniors annually. These falls lead to 85% of injury-related hospitalizations among seniors, account for 95% of all hip fractures, result in direct healthcare costs of approximately $2 billion each year, and contribute to more than one-third of seniors transitioning to long-term care after a fall-related hospitalization. Comparatively, Canadian seniors spend an average of 10 additional days in the hospital due to falls as opposed to other causes. Falls can lead to chronic pain, decreased mobility, a loss of independence, and even fatalities.A striking 50% of all falls resulting in hospitalization occur within the home environment.Between 2003 and 2008, there was a 43% increase in injuries caused by falls and a 65% increase in fall-related deaths. The encouraging news is that falls are preventable, and proactive measures can be taken by everyone to reduce their occurrence.
What Causes Balance Problems & Falls?
Falls and dizziness can have various causes, and they often result from a combination of factors. Some common reasons for falls and dizziness include:
- Medical Conditions
– Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) – A drop in blood pressure when standing can lead to dizziness and fainting.
– Inner Ear Disorders – Conditions like Meniere’s disease can affect balance and cause dizziness.
– Neurological Disorders – Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or neuropathy can affect balance and coordination.
- Medications, especially those that affect blood pressure, can lead to dizziness. These may include blood pressure medications, sedatives, or certain pain relievers.
- Muscle Weakness
- Weak or atrophied muscles can impair balance and increase the likelihood of falls, especially in older individuals.
– Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and other vestibular disorders can cause intense spinning sensations and imbalance.
- Issues like bunions, foot pain, or ill-fitting shoes can affect stability and increase the risk of falling.
What are some Guides and Tips for Balance and Falls Prevention?
Preventing falls and maintaining good balance is crucial for overall health and well-being, especially as we age. Here’s a comprehensive guide with tips to help you enhance your balance and reduce the risk of falls.
- Stay Active:
Regular physical activity is key to improving balance and strength. Incorporate exercises like yoga, tai chi, or resistance training into your routine to enhance muscle stability and flexibility.
- Check Medications:
Consult with your healthcare provider to ensure your medications don’t affect your balance. Some drugs can cause dizziness or affect your equilibrium.
- Vision Care:
Regular eye check-ups are essential to maintain good vision. Correcting vision issues can help you identify obstacles and hazards, reducing the risk of tripping or falling.
- Home Safety:
Remove clutter and tripping hazards in your home. Install handrails, non-slip mats, and adequate lighting to create a safer living environment.
Wear well-fitting, supportive shoes with non-slip soles to provide stability and reduce the risk of slipping.
- Core Strength:
Strengthen your core muscles through exercises like planks, crunches, and leg raises to improve overall balance.
- Balance Exercises:
Practice balance exercises like standing on one leg or heel-to-toe walking to build stability and coordination.
- Hydration and Nutrition:
Proper hydration and a balanced diet can help prevent dizziness and maintain your energy levels, improving balance.
- Fall Prevention Devices:
Consider using mobility aids like canes or walkers if needed. Ensure they are in good condition and used correctly.
- Regular Health Checkups:
Stay up to date with your healthcare appointments to monitor your overall health, identify potential risk factors, and receive professional guidance on falls prevention.
Incorporating these tips into your daily routine can significantly reduce the risk of falls and improve your balance, helping you maintain your independence and overall quality of life.
Physiomobility Falls & Balance Program
At Physiomobility clinic we offer exercise & education programs to increase muscle strength & joint mobility, improve balance and prevent falls & fractures.
People aged 60 and over have a higher risk of fractures due to more frequent falls. Every year, about 40% of people over 65 fall at least once. Avoiding falls means fewer fractures, especially hip fractures. People with better posture, better balance, and stronger muscles are less likely to fall and are therefore less likely to be injured.
Tailored exercise programs can be performed individually or in a small group to make it a social activity also to improve physical health & functional abilities, boost confidence and minimize the risk of falling. It all starts with you wanting to live a life without fear of falling.
It’s important to note that falls and dizziness are often preventable or manageable. If you or someone you know is experiencing frequent falls or dizziness, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They can diagnose the underlying causes and recommend appropriate treatments, interventions, or lifestyle changes to reduce the risk and improve overall well-being. Contact us today at 416-444-4800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to take the first step toward a successful prevention of balance and falls prevention!
Government of Canada (2021). Seniors’ Falls in Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/aging-seniors/publications/publications-general-public/seniors-falls-canada-second-report/seniors-falls-canada-infographic.html.