“It is estimated that more than 30% of people aged 65 years and older experience an average of one fall per year. Aging is accompanied by declining physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities that, in conjunction with environmental factors, increase the risk of falling.
Falls are considered a public health problem worldwide. According to the WHO, they are the second leading cause of accidental death, after traffic accidents.
Although they are not fatal, they may cause, for example, fractures or cranioencephalic trauma that reduce the elderly person’s ability to move and perform activities of daily living (ADLs), reducing their quality of life. They also have psychological effects, namely altered self-image and self-confidence, fear, shame, and depression. Also for the caregiver, falls have a negative impact, often requiring the need to readjust the family dynamics, additional burdens, emotional, physical and economic burden.
The intervention of the physical therapist in the recovery process from a fall in old age is fundamental to restore mobility and promote autonomy and independence, in the safest and fastest way possible.
In this sense, the physiotherapist develops an intervention plan focused on gaining mobility, strength, balance and coordination in order to regain functionality.
Recommending the use of technical help, eventually necessary, throughout the process and advising on how to adapt the surrounding environment to the new needs of each individual are also functions of the competency profile of these professionals.
It is extremely important that after recovering from a fall an active participation in the ADL’s and a routine with productive activities is maintained, in order to maintain the acquired competences and prevent a new incident”.
Physiotherapist Filipa Almeida – DomusVi Dom Pedro V