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Did you know that fear of falling is a risk factor for falls?

One in two aged older adults >80 years will have at least one fall within a year and in Singapore, falls account for 40% of injury related deaths. [1]

Are falls part and parcel of ageing that is not preventable? Absolutely not! There can be many factors contributing to the risk of falls, some of them are non-modifiable but some of them are modifiable and has been shown to mitigate falls risk if addressed adequately.

Modifiable factors

1) the fear of falling

2) limitations in mobility and undertaking the activities of daily living

3) impaired walking patterns (gait)

4) impaired balance

5) reduced muscle strength

6) poor reaction times

7) use of multiple medications specifically benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anti-psychotics and psychoactive medications

8) visual impairment

Physiotherapy is able to address most of the modifiable factors (1-6) and an experienced therapist will be able to screen for factors out of the field of physiotherapy and refer onto other healthcare professional appropriately.

When the fear of falling develops after a fall, older adults will usually limit their activities and tend to be more sedentary, this results in a reduction in muscle strength and balance, leading to decreased function and further increases the risk of falls. Thus, advising an older adult to stop going out, or to stay seated at home will only encourage sedentary behaviour leading to further loss in muscle strength and increased risk of falls. In addition, falls can result in injury such as cuts or bruises to severe injuries such as head injury or fractures. It also leads to loss of confidence, social isolation, withdrawal and loneliness. Conditions such as osteoarthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease and dizziness has been shown to increase the risk of falls. Therefore, if you have fallen, or knows someone who has fallen, it is important to intervene to stop the vicious cycle of falls.

The Good News?

Exercise that incorporates elements of balance, gait and strength training has been shown to reduce the incidence of falls up to 40%! [2]

Our experienced therapist will carry out a comprehensive assessment to review your risk factors for falls, use outcome measures to find out if your falls risk is low, moderate or high. A treatment program will be specially tailored for your needs and modified accordingly as you progress through the weeks towards fall free living.

Let us combat falls together!

Call us today to speak with our friendly physiotherapist about falls prevention!

1. Ang, G., Low, S. and How, C., 2020. Approach to falls among the elderly in the community. Singapore Medical Journal, 61(3), pp.116-121.

2. Li, F., Eckstrom, E., Harmer, P., Fitzgerald, K., Voit, J. and Cameron, K., 2016. Exercise and Fall Prevention: Narrowing the Research‐to‐Practice Gap and Enhancing Integration of Clinical and Community Practice. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 64(2), pp.425-431.

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