Falls Are Common and Dangerous for Older Adults: How to Stay Safe.

Recently, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) published information from the Global Burden of Disease study regarding falls and how they can affect mature adults. We look at some of the study data, as well as some ways to prevent falls as you age.

The Study

The GBD study APTA cited had numerous sobering statistics regarding falls in the global mature adult population, such as:

In the year of the study (2017), APTA cites the study with 2,338 falls globally in an age-standardized group per 100,000 people.

Falls are responsible for more “disability-adjusted life years” than better-known factors like asthma, kidney disease, or common forms of dementia.

In 2017, they estimated the average person who fell would lose 4% of his/her full-life, i.e., non-disabled, status.

Out of all the global areas studied, fractures of the patella, ankle, tibia, or fibula were responsible for the majority of fall-related disability.

Preventing Falls & Fall-related Injury

Since falls pose such a health threat to many adults of advanced years, the key is prevention. As we age, many of us find strength, balance, and flexibility to decrease – which tends to happen, especially if we don’t stay active and work on keeping these qualities! In other words, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it! Staying active is very important, even if you can’t manage quite the same activities or intensity as you did when you were younger. Both men and women should engage in weight-bearing activities, which help promote bone density and strength. Activities like yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and gentle stretching can help with flexibility and balance. Keeping your house free from clutter and ensuring walk-ways are clear from tripping hazards is also one simple way to help prevent falls.

Finally, working with a physical therapist is a really simple, smart way to prevent falls and injury. Many older adults end up seeing a PT after an injury of some kind, and making sure you retain your mobility is vital. Staying clear of the fear-avoidance trap is also very important. Older individuals who struggle with mobility, balance, etc can fear falls and then avoid movement and walking – which actually increases their odds of injury and/or falls when they do get up and move around. Your physical therapist can address your concerns, as well as ensure you’re making progress on staying healthy and mobile – while reducing your fall risk.

If you’re worried about your fall risk, plan your visit to Body One Physical Therapy today. We’re both locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. We work with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to help you feel more comfortable and confident as you tackle life. Call today to find out why Body One is Indy’s preferred PT clinic!