Everyone at AACG, including the physiotherapy team, work hard to prevent falls. The risk of falls increases with age and this can have devastating consequences. While there are some risk factors that we cannot change, including age, gender, and cognition, there are some that we can.
Fall Prevention Strategies:
- Reduce clutter – by keeping your room clean, you are less likely to trip on something that was left out, and you will have more space to maneuver around.
- Footwear – choose shoes that fit you well. Loose shoes can cause you to shuffle and trip. Tight shoes will change the way you walk and cause pain. Shoes should be supportive and hold your foot in place.
- Walking aid – remember to keep your walker or stick (if you use one) within easy reach. Use your walking aid at all times, even for short distances.
- Call bell – keep the call bell in reach, and use it to ask for help. Remember to wait for help to arrive!
- Bed height – all of the beds can be adjusted to a height that will help you get up and down more easily.
- Exercise – all forms of exercise can help prevent falls. Falls can occur if muscles are weak or joint range is limited. It is important to complete strength training at least 2/week and balance exercises twice a week.
Physiotherapists are skilled at providing tailored exercise programs to help prevent falls. Muscles start to change and weaken after about 30 years of age, so it is important that we all undertake strength training. This can include using machines in a gym, ankle or hand weights, or body weight as resistance training. It can include low intensity training with more repetitions or high intensity training with less repetitions. Functional tasks are also a fun and meaningful way to improve strength.
What can I do to keep strong?
Please ensure that you speak to a member of the physio team to check that these exercises are safe and effective for you prior to including them in your daily routine:
- Bridging- Lying down with your knees bent. Try to lift your bottom off the bed.
- Knee extension- When sitting down, lift up your foot to straighten your knee.
- Sit to stand- Have help if you need it and your gait aid in reach. Try doing a few sit to stands in a row to build lower limb strength.
At Kew Gardens, Faye Schilte has been attending the wellbeing centre for physiotherapy twice a week for approximately one year. Keeping active is important to Faye. When Faye first came to Kew Gardens, she struggled to walk to the first bench in Alexandra Gardens, but now leads the pack in the loop around the park. Faye has had no falls since coming to Kew Gardens, and aims to keep it that way. Here is Faye practicing standing without using her hands.