Our vision is to create a Center of Excellence to ensure the independence, safety, and well-being of older persons through fall prevention.
Our mission is to provide medical treatment to prevent falls, create new knowledge, and develop sustainable programs for seniors and their families. We seek to better understand and identify causes of falls and develop effective interventions at individual, program and systems levels.
Statistics show that:
- More than 40% of people hospitalized from hip fractures do not return home and are not capable of living independently again
- 25% of those who have fallen pass away each year
- On average, 100 older adults die from fall-related injuries every day in the U.S.
Falls can result in hip fractures, head injuries or even death. In many cases, those who have experienced a fall have a hard time recovering and their overall health deteriorates.
Researchers have identified that the most effective fall prevention programs have many components. First a person needs to understand what may put them at risk for falling. Some risks can be reduced. Medical providers can help to identify risks and develop a plan. Specific physical activity can target reduce fall risk by increasing balance and mobility skills. Also changes to the home and community environment can reduce hazards and help support a person in completing daily activities. While this is not a comprehensive list of fall prevention strategies, it’s a good place to start!
Risk Assessment and Follow-up
- The first step is to talk with a health professional about getting a risk assessment for falling
- During routine doctor visits, ask the doctor about your risk of falling
- Some of the health factors that can contribute to falls are osteoporosis, being over age 80, changes in balance and walking patterns, changes in vision and sensation, and taking multiple medications
- Once you have an idea of some of the risks and how you might be affected, you can work with your doctor, other health professionals, and your family to determine what factors can be modified to reduce your risk.
Balance & Mobility
- Studies show that balance, flexibility, and strength training not only improve and mobility, but also reduce the risk of falling
- Statistics show that most older adults do not exercise regularly, and 35% of people over the age of 65 do not participate in any leisure physical activity
- Many people are afraid of falling again and reduce their physical activity even more
- There are many creative and low-impact forms of physical activity for fall prevention
- The environment can present many hazards. At home older adults are commonly concerned about falling in the bathtub or on steps.
- In the community there can be trip hazards such as uneven or cracked sidewalks.
- By making changes to the home and community environment a person can feel safer and less at risk of falling
Our Providers Can Help PREVENT FALLS
Podiatric physicians are now critical members of the fall prevention team thanks to research provided by our Australian colleagues who have identified and verified certain risk factors peculiar to the foot and ankle. Restricted ankle joint range of motion, foot pain and weakness of the toe flexor muscles are key independent risk factors for falling in the elderly. Recognition of these factors, in combination with previously identified general systemic factors, will allow the podiatric physician to make appropriate referrals while implementing several proven interventions within their own practices that can reliably reduce the risk of falls in elderly patients.