Accidental falls raise your risk of serious health issues, including fractures, infections, head injuries, and death. Unfortunately, at least a third of seniors living in their own homes fall every year. And the risk is nearly double that for older people residing in nursing homes.
As providers who specialize in geriatric care, our physicians at Beth and Howard Braver, MD, in Aventura and Hollywood, Florida, offer fall risk assessments to identify possible problems related to accidental falls and reduce your chances of struggling with a fall-related injury.
Keep reading to learn what a fall risk assessment is and who should have this important health screening.
Understanding fall risk assessments
Fall risk assessments are simple screenings that help us understand your risk of falling. Most fall risk assessments have two parts, including a question-and-answer screening and physical assessment with specific activities or tasks.
During the Q&A screening, we ask you about your overall health, medical history, previous falls, and whether you’re having any issues with balance, standing, or mobility. Next, we use different tasks and tools to evaluate your fall risk.
The specific tasks vary based on your needs, but they generally involve activities that check your strength, your gait and mobility, and your balance. Some of the different activities may include:
- Moving from sitting to standing and back again over and over to check strength
- Checking balance by having you stand on one leg with your arms crossed
- Being timed while moving from a seated position to a different location, then back to the seated position
Depending on how you perform during the activities and the results of your Q&A screening, we create a personalized list of strategies and changes you can make to lower your risk of falling and prevent fall-related health complications.
Who needs this important screening
Annual fall risk assessments are recommended for men and women 65 and older by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Geriatric Society. As you age, your risk of falling and suffering from a complication related to the accident rises.
For example, the large majority (95%) of hip fractures occur because of an accidental fall. And at least 70% of accidental deaths among American adults 75 or older result from complications from a fall.
If you have other fall risk factors, you may also need this important screening regardless of age, such as having one or more of the following:
- Existing issues with balance and walking
- Vision problems
- Lacking muscles mass in your lower body
- Taking certain medications (e.g., tranquilizers, sedatives)
- Vitamin D deficiency
- History of lightheadedness, dizziness, or irregular heartbeats
- Podiatric issues
You can lower your risk of issues like these with a fall risk assessment. If your risk is high, we provide you with resources to help you improve the things that lower your chances of falling, like gait, strength, and balance, changing medications or supplements, and wearing the right shoes.
Learn more about fall risk assessments and whether you should schedule one by setting up a consultation at our Aventura or Hollywood, Florida, office.