Falls among the elderly are prevalent, dangerous, and can diminish their ability to lead an active and independent life. About one in three seniors above age 65, and nearly one in two seniors over age 80, will fall at least once this year, many times with disastrous consequences. Physical therapists can help prevent falls with evaluation and development of individualized treatment plans including exercises to improve strength, mobility, and balance.

Risk factors associated with falls:

  • Conditions associated with aging
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty with balance or walking
  • Vision problems
  • Pre-existing medical conditions that limit mobility, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or diabetes
  • Conditions that cause confusion (dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc…)
  • Being on more than four medications at the same time
  • Use of an assistive walking device
  • Environmental hazards (e.g., throw rugs, pets)
  • Difficulty completing activities of daily living
  • Low blood pressure

Maintaining Physical Activity

Maintaining physical activity is critical in helping to prevent falls. Physical therapists recommend activities of any fitness level, including gardening, line dancing, and yoga to help improve balance and movement.