Yes, you read that title correctly. One in every three people over the age of 65 in America will fall every year! That’s a pretty scary statistic if you ask me. It is even scarier when you know that falls are the number one cause of hip fracture. But it gets worse! Mortality rates after hip fracture in the older adult are extremely high with many people dying within the first year after injury. So how can you prevent yourself from becoming another statistic?
The first step is to determine if you are at an elevated risk of falls. The physical therapy experts at Robbins Rehabilitation located in Allentown and Upper Macungie are here to help. It is always best to get evaluated in person to determine your risk of falling and develop a plan to conquer that. But in the meantime, let’s answer some simple questions.
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- Yes or No?
- Keep in mind that the definition of a fall is any time you unintentionally traveled from a higher surface to a lower surface. This means that the time you stumbled and landed on your bed counts as a fall! You do NOT have to hit the ground for it to be considered a fall. Now, rethink your answer.
- Do you have difficulty getting around, or with balance?
- Yes or No?
- Do you have a fear of falling?
- Yes or No?
If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then you are already at an increased risk of falling. Next, we are going to explore some self tests that you can do at home to determine if you are at risk.
- The first test is the timed up and go. For this test you will start seated in a chair with no arms. You will need to measure out ten feet in front of the chair and mark a spot of the floor to denote that distance. To begin, get a buddy to time you as you do this exercise. The timer starts when your butt leaves the chairs and stops when you sit back down. To perform:
- Start seated in a chair
- On “go” raise out of the chair and walk to the mark 10 feet in front of the chair
- Do so as quickly as you can while still being safe
- Once you hit the mark, turn around and walk back to the chair
- Sit back down in the chair
- You should be able to perform this in less than 10 seconds. Any score above 10 seconds indicates an increased risk of falling.
- The second test is the 5 time sit to stand. To perform this test:
- Sit in a sturdy chair with no arms.
- Cross your arms across your chest. You are NOT allowed to use your arms for help during this test.
- Have a buddy time you while performing this test. The timer begins on “go” when your butt leaves the chair and ends when your butt hits the chair after your 5th sit to stand.
- The timer says “go”
- You will then stand all the way up and sit all the way down 5 times.
- Do this as quickly as you can while still being safe. And do NOT use your arms to help.
- You should be able to perform 5 sit to stands in less than 10 seconds. Any score above 10 seconds indicates an increased risk of falling.
- The last test is the single leg balance test. To perform:
- Stand in front of a sturdy surface clean of any miscellaneous objects.
- It is best to have a buddy to help time you during this exercise as well as supervise to make sure you are safe.
- Without holding on with your arms, lift up one foot so that you are balancing on one leg.
- Hold this position as long as possible without putting the foot down or touching the support surface with your hands.
- The timer starts when you lift up your foot and ends when you put the foot down or touch the support surface.
- You should be able to easily stand on one foot for 30 seconds. If you are unable to do so, this indicates an increased risk of falling.
So, are you at an increased risk of falls? If so – don’t delay! You do not have to be in pain to see a physical therapist! Preventing falls before they happen is the best way to avoid becoming another scary statistic!
For those of you who are looking for a little more information about Robbins Rehabilitation then check out our website Robbinsptwest.com. You’ll find valuable information on all different body parts and can keep up with our future blog posts!
If you are ready to get started right away then do not hesitate to give us a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
That’s all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and as always check back in to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!