Local Physical Therapist Helps Seniors Prevent Falls

Although many don’t realize it, the risk of suffering a serious injury from falling increases with age. Earlier this week, Matthew Berry from KORT Physical Therapy was at the Anderson County Senior Center giving a presentation about the risk factors of falling and ways to help prevent falling.  Matthew said that according to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are 65 years or older have a 30% risk of falling within a year while those 80 years and older have a risk of 50%.

And, although falling may seem trivial, it can cause devastating injuries and psychological fears.  Matthew explained that he has seen many patients with major injuries including hip fractures, knee and joint injuries, even upper body injuries who end up in physical therapy from falls.  He also explained these falls could also be deadly if the patient ends up hitting their head or could cause a strong fear of falling which makes patients less mobile.

Matthew said that their is a number of major risk factors for falling.  The biggest is having a history of falls, followed by age, gender, lower body weakness, difficulty walking, blood pressure problems, and diabetic neuropathy.  But another, lesser known factor is from the number of medications a patient takes.  People taking four or medications a day are at higher risk of falling.

After going over the risk factors, Matthew then went over ways to prevent falls.  Installing grab bars in the bathroom and shower, removing area rugs, making sure there are hand rails around stairs, installing proper lighting, and removing obstacles can be very beneficial.  Although some may not like the idea of using a walker or other assistive device, he explained that they can be of great benefit to preventing falls and gaining more mobility. Matthew then finished the presentation by giving free fall risk assessments to everyone present.

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