Falling is a potential hazard for anyone, regardless of age, fitness level or environmental conditions.
But there are certain factors that can increase the likelihood an older adult may fall.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association has developed six questions to determine the risk of a fall.
* Have you fallen in the last year?
* Are you currently taking four or more prescription medications?
* Do you have a history of stroke or Parkinson’s disease?
* Do you have any problems with your balance?
* Are you unable to stand up from a chair without using your arms?
* Have you limited your recreational or social activities due to a fear of falling?
A yes answer to any of these questions indicates an elevated risk for falls.
Answer yes to three or more questions, and there is a high risk of falls.
“The checklist is a useful tool for determining the proactive steps necessary for fall prevention,” said Adrian Salonga, a physiotherapist with CPA’s Seniors’ Health Division.
Approximately 30 per cent of older Canadians will fall at least once a year, and of those, half will sustain a fracture or strain.
Physiotherapists can prescribe balance exercises, strength-building activities and safe living tips to allow older adults to stay active and remain independent in their community.
For more on the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, please go to www.physiotherapy.ca.