Posted on September 15, 2014
By Hunter Van Houten, PT, DPT
Illinois is one of 48 states, along with the national Falls Free Initiative, declaring September 23, 2014, Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This year’s theme, Strong Today, Falls Free® Tomorrow, seeks to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. Since Falls Prevention Awareness Day was first observed in 2008, participation has grown in the event from 11 states to 47 states, including Illinois.
Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those 65 years of age and over. Every 14 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. The chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.
On September 23rd, Lakeshore Sports Physical Therapy will be hosting a falls prevention event, including a medication take-back event in which individuals can rid themselves of expired or unused medications by dropping them off at either of our clinic locations. We will also be hosting an introductory, 30-minute Tai Chi class, compliments of Tai Chi Center of Chicago, at 10:30 a.m. at our Lakeview Clinic.
Studies have shown that Tai Chi improves balance, increases leg strength, increases confidence, and reduces fall risk by 28%. To reduce fall risk, one must practice Tai Chi at least twice a week for six months.
Falls are not a normal part of aging, and injuries from falls can result in decrease in quality of life for those injured and their families. To further prevent falls, studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls among older adults. We recommend the following to prevent falls:
- Consulting with a physical therapist or other health professional about undergoing a fall risk assessment
- Having medications reviewed periodically
- Having eyes/vision checked annually
- Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive
- Having an annual hearing assessment
- Participating in a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components