Risk Factors for Falls

Today I performed fall risk screens for older adults.  I assessed strength, balance, and mobility through a series of 3 tests with a few short interview questions.  These tests are part of the tool kit developed by STEADI and are included in the app developed by Evidence in Motion (EIM), “Fall Prevention”.

So, who is at risk for falls?

Modifiable risk factors for falls include:

  • Lower body weakness
  • Difficulties with gait and balance
  • Use of psychoactive medications
  • Postural dizziness
  • Poor vision
  • Problems with feet and/or shoes
  • Home hazards

Fall risk factors are categorized as intrinsic or extrinsic.

Intrinsic:

  • Advanced age
  • Previous falls
  • Muscle weakness
  • Gait and balance problems
  • Poor vision
  • Postural hypotension
  • Chronic conditions including arthritis, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s, incontinence, dementia
  • Fear of falling

Extrinsic:

  • Lack of stair handrails
  • Poor stair design
  • Lack of bathroom grab bars
  • Dim lighting or glare
  • Obstacles and tripping hazards
  • Slippery or uneven surfaces
  • Psychoactive medications
  • Improper use of assistive device

If you are someone you know has fallen or may be at risk of falling, please go to your physician and ask for a referral to physical therapy.  STRENGTH, BALANCE, and MOBILITY can IMPROVE with PRACTICE and with the right person directing and educating you.

Be Well!

Swen

Information taken from: CDC, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; STEADI: Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries. 

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