As the average age of the American population increases, health care providers as well as insurers are paying a lot of attention to the frequency and cost of fall related injuries. Most of us have some personal interest in maintaining function and independence in ourselves as well as our parents and other family members.
Balance that is less than optimal can be due to impairment of vision, inner ear, or sensation, or some combination of them all. It can also be affected by pain or limitation in a joint, such as the knee, ankle or hip. Some diseases, such as diabetes, can result in the loss of sensation in the feet.
The good news is that balance and safety can be improved with the proper exercise program and a few lifestyle and home modifications. There are many ways we can adapt to the changes in our bodies as we age. Different forms of exercise, such as strengthening exercises, flexibility and stretching exercises, yoga, tai chi, and aerobic exercise, such as walking, will all contribute to decreasing the risk of falls and improving balance.
Here are some home safety improvements that you can do to prevent falls:
1. Proper lighting, especially on stairs and hallways.
2. Nightlights in bathrooms
3. Removal or securing of loose rugs and other objects that
can be tripping hazards
4. Personal self-care:
- Wear proper footwear (shoes or slippers that fit securely on the foot): scuffs or socks are hazardous.
- Have vision and hearing checked regularly and corrected if needed.
Physical Therapy is an excellent means towards establishing a healthy and safe program of exercise to meet your goals.
Physical Therapy at Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley offer many programs to improve flexibility, strength and balance. If you have questions or would like to stop by for a free consultation, please call us at 914-255-8807 or 914-762-2222 or check out our website.