November is Fall Prevention Month

November 12, 2018
 

November is Fall Prevention Month! People with Parkinson disease and Parkinson's Plus Syndromes, as well as older adults in general, are more likely to experience a fall. Falls can be a major threat to one’s health and independence.  They are the leading cause of injury for these individuals and can lead to hospitalization, depression, mobility problems, a loss of independence and even death.

 

Many individuals, their loved ones and/or care partners are unaware of the factors and behaviors that put people at risk for falling.  They may also be unaware of actions they could take to help reduce the risk of a fall.

 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) -- "A fall risk factor is something that increases a person’s chances of falling. This may be a biological characteristic, a behavior, or an aspect of the environment. These risk factors include:

 

Biological risk factors
 
Behavioral risk factors
 
Environmental risk factors
•  Muscle weakness or balance problems
 
•  Inactivity
 
•  Clutter and tripping hazards
•  Medication side effects and/or interactions
 
•  Risky behaviors such as standing on a chair in place of a step stool
 
•  Poor lighting
•  Chronic health conditions such as arthritis and stroke
 
•  Alcohol use
 
•  Lack of stair railings
•  Vision changes and vision loss
 
 
 
•  Lack of grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower
•  Loss of sensation in feet
 
 
 
•  Poorly designed public spaces
 

Usually two or more risk factors interact to cause a fall (such as poor balance and low vision) (Rubenstein and Josephson 2006). The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling (Tinetti et al.,1986)."

 

The good news is there are many strategies that can help prevent a fall including (but not limited to):  addressing medical concerns with one's physician, modifying one's environment, and incorporating appropriate assistive devices.  And finally, one of the best ways to prevent falls remains improving one's physical fitness.  Working with a physiotherapist and/or including strength and stability elements to an exercise regime are great way to improve one's balance. For more practical tips to prevent falls at home and outside be sure to check out our information sheet titled "PD & Fall Prevention" by CLICKING HERE.

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