As a premier provider of physical and occupational therapy in the community for more than 16 years, Chautauqua Physical & Occupational Therapy has helped patients improve function and relieve pain through individualized treatment programs. Therapists evaluate and treat the underlying cause of a person's dysfunction. A therapist, working in conjunction with other medical professionals, utilizes conservative and non-invasive procedures. Restoring health and eliminating pain are the goals of successful therapy.
Q: Is there really anything I can do to help prevent a fall, or is falling something I just have to accept?
A: Although there is no guarantee, there are many proactive things each of us can do to reduce the risk or avoid a fall.
Simple exercises that can be done in one's home such as installing grab bars in the bathroom, either using non-skid rugs or taping throw rugs down are just a few of the easy steps that can have a significant impact on preventing a fall.
Becoming dizzy as a result of medications is a common reason people lose their balance and fall. Ask your primary care physician to review a complete list of your medications including those prescribed by all specialists and over-the-counter medications.
Q: I had recently heard that about 20 people per day are transported to an emergency room in Chautauqua County to address injuries sustained in a fall. Where did most of these falls occur?
A: There are many reasons people fall. Our homes, where we are the most comfortable, have the highest risk for falls.
Tripping over an object or pet, dizziness as a result of medication, poor lighting, sloppy footwear, rushing to answer the phone or the doorbell, not having something to grab on to (hand rail next to stairs, grab bar in bathroom) or over-reaching for an item in a cabinet are a few common examples.
The bathroom is the area where most incidents occur. Slippery tubs, throw rugs, difficulty transferring to and from the toilet, lack of light and tripping as a result of rushing to use the bathroom are all things that increase the risk.
Q: How can I prevent a fall and potential injury?
A: A few tips include: use of a night light, reduced clutter, grab bars for the bathroom with suction cups - no need to drill - a raised toilet seat, removal of throw rugs and scheduling a free physical therapy consultation to see if a therapist feels your balance could be improved.
A therapist may suggest some simple exercises to increase strength to keep your lower extremities strong, thereby reducing your risk of a fall and the potential injury.
There are many proactive things we can all do to take charge of our risk for falls. It is not an inevitable part of the aging process but rather a danger that can be reduced through some simple measures.
Avoiding an injury and maintaining independence in your own home is the reward for implementing a good plan to reduce your risk. Take the first step today. Your independence is worth it.
Chautauqua Physical & Occupational Therapy is located in the Riverwalk Center, 15 S. Main St., Suite 220, Jamestown, NY 14701. We offer free consultations, have convenient hours and accept most insurance plans. For more information, call 488-2322, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.chautauquapt.com.