Introducing Physica Falls and Balance
One in four people over the age of 60 have a fall each year, and one in three people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year. The risk of falling—and fall-related problems—rises with age. Falls constitute a significant cost to our healthcare system and in many cases, leads to mortality and decreased confidence and independence within an individual. They are one of the predominant reasons for elderly isolation and can often result in loss of independence and adversely affect one's quality of life.
The fear of falling becomes more common as people age, even among those who haven't fallen. It may lead older people to avoid activities such as walking, shopping, or taking part in social activities.
But don't let a fear of falling keep you from being active. Overcoming this fear can help you stay active, maintain your physical health, and prevent future falls. And more importantly, allowing you to keep doing the things you enjoy like gardening, walking or visiting friends. The good news is, there are simple ways to prevent most falls.
Our falls prevention program helps people who are unsteady or who have lost confidence through the assessment and treatment of balance disorders. In many cases, people show a very rapid improvement in function and independence when guided through appropriate exercises and falls prevention strategies.
Causes and Risk Factors for Falls
Many things can cause a fall. Your eyesight, hearing, and reflexes might not be as sharp as they were when you were younger. Diabetes, heart disease, or problems with your thyroid, nerves, feet, or blood vessels can affect your balance. Some medications can cause you to feel dizzy or sleepy, making you more likely to fall. Other causes include safety hazards in the home or community environment.
Scientists have linked several personal risk factors to falling, including muscle weakness, problems with balance and gait, and blood pressure that drops too much when you get up from lying down or sitting (called postural hypotension). Foot problems that cause pain and unsafe footwear, like backless shoes or high heels, can also increase your risk of falling.
Some medications can increase a person's risk of falling because they cause side effects like dizziness or confusion. The more medications you take, the more likely you are to fall.
The risk of falling in older adults is usually related to combination of factors, including:
- Balance and/or walking problems. Balance can be affected by vision changes, vestibular problems and altered sensation in the feet.
- The use of multiple medications. Studies indicate that when individuals take five or more medicines, the risk of falls increases.
- Home hazards (including dim lighting and trip hazards)
- Positional low blood pressure (such as orthostatic hypotension, when blood pressure drops upon standing.
- Feet and footwear issues
Can I improve my balance?
While it’s not possible to completely prevent a fall, exercises that focus on balance and strength training can reduce the risk of falling. The most effective falls prevention exercises consist of challenging and progressive balance and strength exercises. These exercises work by having the individual’s centre of gravity constantly moving, forcing them to engage muscles to stabilise themselves. At Physica we assess your current capabilities before prescribing a balance exercise program. This assessment helps to identify the most suitable exercises and can be used to measure improvements in balance over time.
Tailored Falls Sessions
Our clinic runs a very successful falls and balance program. Clients are assessed and either managed individually or encouraged to join one of our falls and balance classes. Improving balance involves correction of strength, coordination, and gait impairments, education about falls prevention, and prescription and advice for safe use of gait aids. We often work with other professionals such as your doctor to review medication, optometrists for visual assessments, and podiatrists for footwear and diabetes management.
All sites undertake balance assessments and can assist in balance retraining. You will need an assessment prior to joining a class so our Physiotherapists can create an individualised program for you. Our classes are 40mins in duration with a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio depending on location. Formal balance classes are offered weekly. Contact your nearest clinic to find out more information on class times.
Feel free to Book your first Appointment
Please speak to our reception staff if you are interested in joining this class at physica ringwood.
An initial falls and balance assessment is required prior to attending the class.
Contact our admin team on 03 9017 5223