Are you at risk for a fall? Canadian physiotherapists identify key factors for tumbles in older adults

OTTAWA, February 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian physiotherapists have designed a new checklist aimed at identifying key risk points that make older people more susceptible to falls.

Falling is a potential hazard for anyone, regardless of age, fitness level or environmental conditions. But there are certain factors that can increase the likelihood an older adult may fall. The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) has developed these six simple questions to determine the risk.

...Have you fallen in the last year?

...Are you currently taking four or more prescription medications?

...Do you have a history of stroke or Parkinson's disease?

...Do you have any problems with your balance?

...Are you unable to stand up from a chair without using your arms?

...Have you limited your recreational or social activities due to a fear of falling?

A YES answer to any of these questions indicates an ELEVATED RISK for falls.
Answer YES to THREE OR MORE questions, and there is a HIGH RISK of falls.

"The checklist is a useful tool for determining the proactive steps necessary for fall prevention," says Adrian Salonga, a physiotherapist with CPA's Seniors' Health Division. "Considering how frequently older adults fall and the serious consequences that can occur, this issue is an important public health concern."

Approximately 30 per cent of older Canadians will fall at least once a year, and of those, half will sustain a fracture or strain. Injuries from falls can lead to disability, chronic pain, loss of independence, or reluctance to participate in normal activities.

The good news is that there are effective physiotherapy treatments available to prevent falls and to restore optimal function after a fall has occurred. Physiotherapists can prescribe balance exercises, strength-building activities and safe living tips to allow older adults to stay active and remain independent in their community.

More fall prevention tips are available for download here

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