Stand Against Falls in the Elderly (S.A.F.E.)
One in four older Americans experiences a fall every year, and some can be life-threatening; however, falls do not have to be a normal part of aging. With professional guidance, you can reduce your risk of falling while improving your function and mobility.
The following common factors can lead to a fall:
- Balance and gait: As we age, we lose coordination, flexibility, and balance—making it easier to fall.
- Chronic conditions: Chronic conditions like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis can increase the risk of falling.
- Environment: Often, seniors need simple modifications to their home that might keep it safer as they age.
- Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration, or interactions with each other. These can lead to falls
- Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina, making tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
Your S.A.F.E. Balance evaluation will be performed by a physical therapist. They will test your mobility, fall risk, and balance skills. They will also examine impairments in strength, flexibility, and sensory systems.
Following the evaluation, the therapist will develop a treatment plan for your needs. Most plans include education sessions about reducing risk factors for falling, home safety, and appropriate devices for walking. Some also include individualized strengthening, flexibility, and balance exercises.
Upon program completion, the therapist will perform an assessment. This will help them make recommendations for any ongoing physical activity.
Participants must have a physician’s approval to take part in the program. To help your doctor understand your need for this program, print and fill out a Balance Self-Test (PDF), and then take it to your next appointment.