From there, Cole said she can write up a plan for the patient. Likewise, Stevens uses a program called Be Active that allows her to test seniors on a variety of measurements, including flexibility, balance, hand strength, and more.
“Then we match them with classes to address their shortcomings,” she said. “It’s critical that seniors have the ability to recover and not fall if they get knocked off balance.”
Beyond working on your physical limitations, taking a good look at your home is essential, too. “You can have an occupational therapist come to your home and do an evaluation,” Stevens said. “They can help you rearrange and reorganize for a safer environment.”
Big, common household fall hazards include throw rugs, lack of nightlights for middle-of-the-night visits to the bathroom, a lack of grab bars in the shower/bathtub, and furniture that blocks pathways.
For his part, Alter likes to point seniors and their doctors to the CDC’s STEADI program, which is aimed at stopping elderly accidents, deaths, and injuries.
“It includes screening for fall risk, assessing factors you can modify or improve, and more tools,” he said.
Alter also recommended seniors talk to their doctor about medications, particularly blood thinners.
“At a certain point, you need to weigh the benefits of disease prevention with the risk of injury if you fall,” he said. “The bleeding risk might be too high if the patient is at a high risk of falls.”