Falls are the top cause of hospital admissions amongst seniors. Experts believe that the elderly are more prone to falls due to factors like declining health, inadequate living conditions, and chronic diseases. Falls usually cause head, joint, and bone injuries in seniors, yet a bad fall does not have to mean a lifetime of disability. With a good treatment plan involving physical rehabilitation, seniors can recover from falls and go on to lead healthy, productive lives.
How Common are Fall Injuries Among Seniors?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), millions of older adults are treated in emergency rooms each year for slip-and-fall injuries. Roughly 800,000 of those treated must be admitted into the hospital for longer stays. Common causes of falls among the elderly include falling out of bed, slipping in the bath, falling down stairs, and slipping on wet or frozen surfaces.
Why are the Elderly More Likely to Fall?
Some of the underlying factors for falls include:
- Weak muscle strength related to lack physical activity
- Poor vision
- Dangerous conditions in the home (including clutter)
- Difficult stairs
- Failure to adapt to changing abilities
- Medical conditions like Parkinson’s Disease and dementia that cause confusion or lack of muscle control
What are the Most Common Fall Injuries Among the Elderly?
The CDC reports that head and hip injuries are two of the most common injuries resulting from falls when it comes to seniors. Falls are also a major cause of hip fractures in older patients, and the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Other common injuries include ankle and wrist fractures, and back and shoulder injuries.
Recovering from Falls: Rehab is Key
Recovering from a fall can be a lengthy process. In many cases, surgery and hospitalization are required for fractures and head injuries. After hospitalization, a high-quality physical rehabilitation program is essential to regaining strength, mobility, and function.
Inpatient rehab is often recommended and offers patients the benefit of a highly-structured routine that can include medical treatment, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Trained therapists provide consistent monitoring and encouragement in implementing programs designed to help patients return to independence.
Regaining Strength and Function at Evergreen Health & Rehab
One of the advantages of a high-quality rehab facility like Evergreen is access to specialized equipment that enables patients to regain strength with minimal pain and difficulty. Evergreen’s ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System is a unique device that offers body weight support and fall protection to patients who need to safely boost strength and improve balance, allowing them to move and exercise even when medical conditions make traditional exercise programs impossible. Evergreen Health and Rehab is the only facility in the Winchester area offering the ZeroG system.
Evergreen’s staff of qualified therapists can also help in other ways. In many cases, occupational therapy is required to help patients make adjustments and relearn daily tasks like learning to use a walker or adapting to household and personal hygiene routines. In the case of TBI, therapy can also include speech and communication retraining.
Preventing Future Falls and Returning to a Healthy Life
The rehab therapists at Evergreen can help patients return home. We focus on increasing core strength with exercise programs designed to help prevent future falls. Our therapists can also counsel patients and their families on ways to make their homes safer by installing railings and grab bars, improving lighting, removing clutter, and making sure carpets are secure.
An excellent rehab program is essential for full recovery after a fall. It’s imperative for patients to regain not only strength and mobility, but also learn strategies for staying healthy. At Evergreen, we strive to rebuild confidence in our patients so that they can resume daily activities. With some effort, patients can return to well-rounded, active lives.