Risk Factors for Falling in Elderly Patients

Statistics show that at least 1/3 of people over age 65 fall at least once per year. This frequency increases as people get older too. Falls can lead to fractures, most commonly wrist and hip. Mortality rates increase to greater than 75% after a hip fracture is sustained. When a patient falls, they lose confidence in their physical capabilities and therefore reduce their activity levels and community participation. The cost to the healthcare system is also great as the population ages and medical attention is needed following a fall.

What can physical therapy do to help? There is strong support for the effectiveness of exercise, balance work and gait training in the prevention of falls in older people. Exercise helps strengthen key muscles like the quadriceps and calf muscles. Physical Therapists are experts in challenging patients in a safe and meaningful way to gain functional ability and reduce the likelihood of falling.

There is an interesting article from Australia that goes into more detail on the matter. See link below.