One of our first blog posts was about fall prevention; this week we are revisiting that topic and diving deeper into fall prevention. You can reread that article or view it for the first time here. We spoke to Dr. Marc Kaplan, the Program Director at “The Center for Balance, Gait and Fall Prevention”, at the Hudson Valley Regional Health Center in Brewster, New York for more insight on this topic. Below are his words on fall prevention.
How do we know whether we are at risk for falling? Is there a simple tool that can let us know if we are at risk, and to what degree? Is there a tool that can let us know how fearful we are of falling?
As the Program Director at “the Center for Balance, Gait and Fall Prevention”, we use two very simple tools to identify if a person is: 1. At risk for falling? And, 2. If that person has a significant fear of falling. There are a few tools you can use to determine, if you or a loved one is at risk for falls. I would like to share one of these simple tools that you can use on your own, to see where you are placed in this continuum of fall risk.
The first tool we use is a simple questionnaire on “Fall Risk”, produced by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which is filled out by all our participants prior to their entering the Fall Prevention program. It is used every six weeks thereafter. By having them fill out this form before the program starts, we have a baseline, from which we could measure their improvement, or lack thereof. Here it is.
Answer the following 12 questions, by circling the “Yes” or “No” choices. Add up the number of points in each “Yes” box. If you scored 4 points or more, you may be at risk for falling.
|2||0||I have fallen in the past year|
|2||0||I use or have been advised to use a cane/walker to get around safely|
|1||0||Sometimes I feel unsteady when I am walking|
|1||0||I steady myself by holding on to furniture when walking at home|
|1||0||I am worried about falling|
|1||0||I need to push with my hands to stand up from a chair|
|1||0||I have some trouble stepping up onto a curb|
|1||0||I often have to rush to the toilet|
|1||0||I have lost some feelings in my feet|
|1||0||I take medicine that sometimes makes me feel light-headed or more tired than usual|
|1||0||I take medicine to help me sleep or improve my mood|
|1||0||I often feel sad or depressed|
So, are you at risk for falling?
If you would like further information about Fall Prevention programs, in general, or the program sponsored by the Center for Balance, Gait and Fall Prevention at the Hudson Valley Regional Health Center, you can contact me via e-mail at: [email protected] or you can call me at 845-878-9078
Fall prevention is extremely important and something every senior should be aware of. If you or a loved one is at risk for falling take further precautions. Talk to your doctor and do more research on ways to prevent falls.