strength

Fall prevention

Fall Stats

  • 1 in 3 seniors will experience a fall each year and half of those people will fall more than once.

  • Falls are the cause of 85% of seniors injury-related hospitalizations

  • Falls are the cause of 95% of all hip fractures

  • 50% of falls happen at home

Why are people falling?

The majority of falls are experienced by seniors. 

Two factors will increase the risk of falling

1. Environmental factors or the unsafe conditions around the person

2. Physical factors - poor/decreased balance, decreased muscle/bone strength and reduced vision/hearing 

What can be done to reduce the risk?

1. Around the home:

  • Install non slip surfaces

  • Install grab bars or rails in the rest room, at the entrances and on the stairs

  • Wipe up any spills immediately

  • Declutter the house

  • Make sure cords are not in walking paths

  • Get rid of rugs or mats

  • If you are using a step stool, find one with a safety rail

  • Store heavy items in a lower shelf or drawer

  • ** Slow down!** rushing a is a  major cause of falling

  • Use the handrail on the stairs and don’t have a full arm load when travelling on the stairs

2. Physically:

- Avoid situations that may make you feel dizzy - like skipping meals or doing activity after taking medications that are known to cause dizziness or drowsiness

- Wear your glasses or hearing aids

- Use an assistive device (cane, walker etc)

- Keep fit - cardiovascular exercise - walking at least 30 minutes a day

                  - strength and resistance training to help build bone and muscle mass

Balance is comprised of 3 major systems that communicate information to the cerebellum, located at the back of the brain

  • The vestibular system in the ear and the visual system tell the cerebellum where the head is in relation to the horizon.

  • In the rest of the body, proprioceptive cells that are found in muscles and joints communicate information about joint angles, muscle length and muscle tension.

If any of those systems are not working correctly or have not properly healed after injury than a person may be at greater risk for a fall. Concentrating on exercises that focus on making those three systems work together can improve reaction time and decrease the chance of a slip

 Is there any way to see if my Balance systems are all working together? 

There are a number of physical tests and neurological tests that a chiropractor will perform to assess your risk for a fall. Based on your test findings, you would then be prescribed a specific list of exercises to help improve the areas where you are deficient. New research from neuroscientist Dr. Heidi Haavik found cerebellar changes with movement related tasks after 12 weeks of regular chiropractic adjustments. 

 What about fall risk in Winter?

  • Keeping walkways clean and free of ice

  • Keep steps and rails in good repair and well lit

  • Wear slip resistant shoes

  • WEAR GLOVES!  hand should be out of pockets ready to help you brace against a fall -

- If you do feel unsteady WALK LIKE A PENGUIN

  •          Keep centre of gravity over your feet

  •          Take shorter/shuffling steps

  •          Keep your arms at your sides and wear your gloves

  •          Go Slowly and concentrate 

For a complete list of strategies to help minimize the risk of falls please follow this link to the fall prevention handout from the Public Health Agency of Canada.