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Are You at Risk for a Fall? Our Experts Help Older Adults Stay on their Feet

February 23rd, 2016

 One out of three people over the age of 65 falls each year, and for older adults, even minor falls can cause serious injury. Consider this: according to the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2.5 million Americans are treated in hospital emergency departments for falls each year, and more than 700,000 people are hospitalized.

 Older adults may be susceptible to falls for a variety of reasons.

 “Older adults may lose lower body strength and conditioning which may affect their balance and make them unsteady on their feet,” said Jill Bocchieri, PT, Director of Good Samaritan Hospital’s Rehabilitation Department.  In addition, older adults may be taking certain medications or have poor vision which may contribute to their increase risk of falling.

 There are steps that individuals and families can take to reduce the risk of falling and make the home a safer environment for older adults, according to Bocchieri. Among them:

  •  Have a thorough physical examination by your doctor to rule out serious medical issues and review medications.
  • Undergo a balance assessment. Licensed physical therapists at Good Samaritan provide free balance screenings by appointment in their convenient Union Blvd. office in West Islip.
  • Learn to recognize and eliminate tripping hazards in the home. Throw rugs, dangling electrical cords and other environmental hazards can increase the risk of a fall.
  •  Have a vision screening to address correctible eye problems

Good Samaritan’s Physical Therapy Department holds a free, one-hour Fall Prevention Class on the second Friday of each month. Attendees learn strategies and tips including strength and balance exercises, common fall risks, and how to eliminate tripping hazards around the home.

 “The goal is to help older adults maintain their health and independence,” said Ms. Bocchieri.

 For additional information or to register for this free program, please call (631) 376-4444.

 Good Samaritan Hospital’s Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility offers Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy services to adults and children of all ages.  For further information or to schedule an appointment please call 631-376-4109.