For people older than 65, the leading cause of injury is falling. While medication side-effects and health conditions can contribute to falls, normal changes of aging are also a factor.
Balance seems very simple, but it is actually incredibly complex. There are multiple systems or parts of our body that harmoniously work together to keep us upright – our inner ear, vision, muscles and bones, brain function, and even skin with regards to touch and feel. When any of these systems are impaired, it can place us at a higher risk for falls.
Through the natural aging process, multiple changes occur in many of these systems. That, along with medications taken for mood, cardiovascular diagnoses, pain and other medical conditions can affect balance. Because of this, the aging adult has a much higher risk for falls than any other population.
Falls also can be attributed to environmental hazards. Things such as uneven surfaces, poor lighting and loose rugs can impair our balance. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and remove any hazards you may see in your home. And it never hurts to be extra careful and take your time as you move around.
At Nazareth Home, our Rehabilitation to Home program utilizes multiple evidence-based strategies and techniques to determine a person’s risk for falls. Technology, such as the BIODEX, is used to measure balance and assess your risk level. It also aids in increasing mobility, improving balance, developing muscle tone and increasing agility. With these techniques, treatment and trained staff we improve the balance of the elders with excellent functional outcomes.