Growing old and staying physically fit may be a challenge, as you may face physical and health challenges and sometimes medications used to overcome those challenges could be the pitfall. Falls are a leading cause of injury in the generation that is aging.
With the Baby Boomer generation all set to live long lives, the population of aging people have medically set forth in motion services that were hitherto not given any importance. Moreover, this same community of elders are also very independent and want to live in their own homes. To help this group of aging population, The Kauvery Institute of Orthopaedic and Neurosciences have launched a Fall Prevention Clinic with the aim to provide and equip older adults to physically and mentally live healthy, productive and longer lives.
Our new initiatives and innovative care for the aging uses a neoteric approach to enhance the quality of life for the diverse older adults and their family members.
Falling or the fear of falling often deters an older adult from performing their daily activities. Falls can lead to disastrous results in many elderly people, especially those with medical complications. Generally when older adults do fall it results either in a hip fracture or head injuries. In many cases, when an older adult does meet with a fall and has a fracture, most of them have a very hard time recovering and their health conditions progressively deteriorates, with negative consequences. Statistics show that at least 40% of the aging adult who has had a fall, cannot function independently again.
To prevent such disastrous consequences, The Fall Prevention Clinic at The Kauvery Institute of Orthopaedic and Neurosciences has launched a program where with adequate knowledge, falls can be prevented. Our Falls Prevention Clinic is a comprehensive program that consists of a multidisciplinary team of doctors from Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurology, Geriatrics, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic and ENT, all of who specialize in falls prevention. We provide a comprehensive diagnosis and design custom-tailored treatment plans for patients with a history of falling for unknown reasons.
Our specialists are qualified in Fall Prevention techniques and will help you to improve the daily activities in your life, together with improving the quality of life, in general. Our multifaceted Falls Prevention program uses interventions to diminish the risk of falling tempered with physical activity. Our successful exercise programs are designed to combine adequate intensity to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, as well as to impart dynamic balance training. Prior to beginning the treatment program we will first evaluate the patient, then direct our focus on the multiple factors that could lead to an increased fall risk.
The goals of treatment will include:
Seniors or elders are prone to losing balance and falling due to a wide variety of reasons. This includes: earlier falls, fractures, tripping or stumbling, poor balance, gait, restricted mobility, dizziness, syncope (fainting), reduced muscle strength, postural hypotension, acute illness, foot problems, certain medications, a medical history of Parkinson’s, arthritis, cardiac abnormalities or stroke, and impaired vision. Mental or psychological reasons include: low mood, cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety and a fear of falling.
Walking aids like walking sticks, fancy walkers and semi-automatic wheelchairs are not enough. It’s important to understand the underlying cause and then treat it at the earliest. Since muscle weakness is inevitable with old age, the elder must be aware of exercises that strengthen his/her muscles and reduce the risk of falls.
Losing balance and falling down is a lot more common in elders than we think. 1 in 3 adults in the UK are said to fall an average once a year. It’s also one of the common causes for death in elders over 75 years of age, in the UK. One can expect similar figures for India. If an elder has had a fall before, he/she must be frank about it and inform family members immediately. Hiding it or being embarrassed about it can only aggravate the problem and increase the risk. The next important step is to go to a Fall Clinic and consult doctors there.
There are innumerable factors that increase the risk of falls in elders. In addition to the intrinsic or medical factors listed above, there are extrinsic factors and behavioral risk factors. Extrinsic factors pertain to the home and outside environment the elder lives in or frequents. This includes stairs, steps, slippery floors, cluttered furniture etc. Behavioral risk-factors pertain to habits, lifestyle, clothing and footwear. A Fall Clinic acts as a one-stop destination for educating elders and their family members on falls so that remedial action can be taken.
When an elder falls at home or outside home, the first reaction is panic. So friends and family around them should follow the below protocol: Calm down the person first, to do so, ask them to take several, deep breaths. Once calmed down, assess how much injury is there if any. In case of injury, do not force them to get up or pull them up yourself. Instead, call for an ambulance. If the person is able to get up, call an ambulance nevertheless and follow the instructions given by the hospital on dos and don’ts, till the ambulance arrives.