New programs hope to decrease number of seniors falling


September 12, 2011

For many aging Americans, falling has become something to worry about, causing many researchers to investigate why and how to prevent the problem, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Doctors at the Sutter Physical and Hand Therapy Center in Davis, California, now offer classes for seniors on tips for balance and fall prevention.

Experts assess four critical areas when looking at each patient that comes to the center, the news outlet reports.

They examine if a person is older than 65, if they take four or more medicines, if they've suffered one or more falls in the past year and if they're afraid of falling.

"Typically, anyone who's in older age will have a combination of things going on," Julie Benzing, a physical therapist and administrator at the center, told the news outlet. "They'll trip over the edge of the rug, but there's the pharmaceutical part of it, too."

In order to combat falling, therapists help strengthen patients' leg muscles through various exercises as well as addressing how well their balance is and even how to get around with their walking aids better.

"In a lot of communities, the older population is inactive," Benzing told the news source. "But the less you work it, the worse it gets. Being at risk of falling shouldn't be an ordinary part of aging. It doesn't have to be that way."

For seniors who still hold fears of falling, installing a medical alert system may ease the stress, as the indicator allows seniors to call for help when they are unable to reach a phone.