Falls, which include slipping and tripping, are the single largest cause of injury for New Zealanders across all age groups. Falls are most common in those over 65 years of age. Causes can range from poor vision and balance to certain types of medicine or medical conditions. Falls are the leading cause of hospitalisation, and one of the top three leading causes of death by injury, in New Zealand.
Who is at risk
A person over the age of 65 has a one in three chance of falling in a year and this increases to a 50% chance of falling once over the age of 80. Around 20% of older people who fall sustain a serious injury (such as a hip fracture) requiring medical intervention and often hospital-based care. Many are never able to live independently at home again.
Take this quiz to see if you or a relative are at risk of falling:
- Have you had a fall in the last year?
- Are you taking four or more medications a day?
- Do you have Parkinson’s disease or a history of stroke?
- Do you feel you have any balance problems?
- Are you able to stand up from a chair without using your arms for support?
- Are you limiting what you do due to fear of falling?
If you answered YES to three or more of the above questions then you are at high risk of falling and could benefit from the help of a physio.
How our Physiotherapists can help
Our Physiotherapists are experienced in the use of the Otago Exercise Programme with clients at risk of falls. The Otago Exercise Programme was developed in New Zealand. It is recognised worldwide as an evidence-based falls prevention programme.
The programme consists of muscle strengthening and balance re-training exercises delivered in the client’s home by a registered Physiotherapist or trained instructor. The client completes the exercises every day, with the Physiotherapist overseeing the programme and progressing the exercises when necessary.
A targeted exercise programme from a registered Physiotherapist can reduce the rate of falling by 22 – 27% and the risk of falling by 17 – 35%.
If you have fallen in the past, are afraid of falling or have an elderly relative afraid of falling, contact us on 0800 824 432 for an in-home falls assessment and individualised exercise programme.