When it comes to avoiding a fall, you and your senior might have thought about all sorts of options, including removing tripping hazards and ensuring she’s wearing proper footwear. But physical therapy services may offer your senior exactly what she needs to avoid falling. The Centers for Disease Control warns that one out of every five falls leads to severe injury and that people who fall once are twice as likely to fall a second time. Those are very good reasons to find ways to prevent falling.
Physical Therapy Aides Evaluate Gait
Most people don’t realize when their gait changes or becomes uneven. Your elderly family member may even stop walking because of changes in her gait. Physical therapists are able to evaluate your elderly family member’s gait and recommend options for improvement. That might involve specific exercises or even learning to use an assistive device, like a cane.
When your elderly family member’s balance is not as strong as it used to be, she’s very likely to experience more trouble with mobility. This also puts her at a much greater risk of falling, which can cause a whole host of other problems for her. Physical therapy offers ways for your senior to improve her balance, helping her to regain some of her mobility.
Increasing Core Muscles and General Strength
All too often seniors lose more muscle tone than they realize, particularly in their core muscles. That can lead to major problems in terms of balance, mobility, coordination, and simply being able to remain upright. Physical therapists work with your senior to improve her overall strength, but especially her core muscles, to help her walk more safely.
There can be a lot of reasons your senior isn’t as coordinated as she used to be. Changes in how her brain functions as well as physical issues can all play contributing roles. There may be ways for a physical therapist to help your elderly family member to improve her coordination with practice, helping her to be safer overall.
Physical Therapy Providers Assess the Environment
If your elderly family member’s environment is unsafe, she’s more likely to have a fall no matter how physically capable she is. Your senior’s physical therapist can evaluate her home environment and make recommendations that can improve mobility and help your senior to be safer. Putting these solutions in place can reduce anxiety and fear, both of which can contribute to a fall.
Pain is another variable when it comes to fall risks. If your elderly family member is experiencing chronic pain, she may feel that there isn’t much that she can do about it. But physical therapy can offer a variety of options for managing even severe pain. Specific exercises, supportive devices, and techniques like massage and hot or cold therapy can do more than your senior might believe possible.
Working with a physical therapist is an excellent option for anyone who wants to reduce their fall risk. Your elderly family member may only need a few tools to improve her situation more than she thought possible, so it doesn’t hurt to try working with a physical therapist.