Falls are known to be a primary cause of injury and accidental death in the elderly and they become more common and the results more serious as we age. The frail and elderly are not the only ones at risk for falling. Even those older persons who appear strong and healthy can be susceptible. In fact, the fear of falling itself can lead to isolation, decreased mobility, deconditioning and depression. The good news however, is that falls in older adults are both predictable and preventable.
Maine Medical Center's Geriatric Center has developed a special clinic to address the issue of falling. The goal of our Falls Clinic is to prevent as many falls as possible by helping seniors to identify potential risk factors for falling and then learn how to control those risk factors. Staffed by a Geriatrician and a Physical Therapist, this clinic is designed to help individuals who have fallen frequently, or who have been identified as a being at risk for falling. Visits to the clinic include a detailed evaluation of balance, strength, endurance and coordination as well as an assessment of other risk factors associated with falling. Those risk factors include:
- Medication side effects and interactions
- Effects of other diseases (such as arthritis or stroke)
- Decreased memory
- Environmental risks
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan with follow-up visits to the clinic as needed
The ability to successfully manage concerns about falling can have a positive impact on emotional health and well being. Taking steps to prevent falls ensures the ability to engage in daily routines and activities with confidence and improved safety. The Falls Clinic can help with this.