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Harvard Health Blog
Preventing falls in older adults: Multiple strategies are better
- By Brad Manor, PhD, Contributor
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I am 81. Yesterday I fell while out walking my dog as she lunged for another dog. I have an Apple watch Series 4 (or 5?) – when I fell, I got the message on my watch “ are you OK?” Fortunately I was, but had I not responded, the watch would have summoned 911 as well as my emergency contacts and help would have arrived because of emergency personnel knowing my location because of the GPS in my phone. I strongly recommend these watches for elderly people, and no, I’m not an Apple employee!
I am 72 and as I age, I am beginning to see how easy it is to fall. I am not particularly coordinated (never have been), nor am I as fit as I’d like to be, so I am very cautious as I move around the house and go up & down the stairs. That being said, I see two potential high risk things in my world: multi-focal glasses & bathtubs. My progressive eyewear is fine for reading or driving, but if I’m walking, when I look down everything is out of focus. It also affects your depth perception. Very disconcerting & DANGEROUS. My showers at home have tile floors that are flat, and they are fine. But when I visit others’ homes and have to shower in a bathtub, I realize how easy it is to step near the edge of the tub where it is sloped and have that throw you off-balance. I’d love to know if others have these same experiences.
It is surprising And rather disappointing, that physical therapists are not involved in the STRIDE clinical trial. Fall Analysis, balance assessments and comprehensive fall prevention programs are our specialty. I would encourage anyone to seek out the services of a physical therapist for evaluation and treatment to maximize safety and Individual functional levels, especially in their home and community settings.
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