There are lots of exercise programs that are available at the community centres to work on general strengthenig and conditioning. Many hospitals also run falls prevention programs but entry will require a doctor's referral. A registered physiotherapist can also implement a falls prevention program at a community clinic through a personalized home exercise program.
Poor general health, taking a number of different medications, low activity levels, poor strength, poor balance, poor vision, cluttered environment and previous falls are all risk factors for falls.
The reasons why a senior falls should be closely evaluated. If there have been more than one fall, then the senior should defintely be seen by a doctor for a complete evaluation. If the reaosns for the person's fall have been confirmed to be due to poor strength and balance, then it is important that the senior works with a physiotherapist to improve their strength and conditioning. The physiotherapist can assess the falls risk and develop an exercise program that will help prevent future falls.
Older adults fall due to a variety of reasons. Some known causes for falls include increased clutter, polypharmacy (which refers to taking many different kinds of medications for a variety of health issues), poor vision, poor balance and overall poor strength. Majoirty of the falls do tend to happen in the home because that's where older adults spend most of their time.
Physiotherapy treatment plan may include eye and head movement exercise. exercise to improve standing balance and walking, specific techniques performed in the clinic to reposition the loose crystals in your inner ear if you have BPPV, advice on falls prevention and education and advice on planning and pacing your activities of daily living to improve confidence and function.
BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo due to vestibular dysfunction due to your inner ear pathology and most likely to occur over the age of 50. Vestibular dysfunction can develop due to head trauma, surgical trauma in your inner ear, Labyrinthitis, neuritis, migraine, vestibular system degeneration, Meniere’s disease, barotrauma (increased pressure in the inner ear for e.g. in scuba diving) and ototoxicity (toxicity from antibiotics like gentamycin).
In the initial phase your doctor may prescribe medication to supress your symptoms and also medication for nausea. If you have inner ear infection then you may be on steroids or antibiotics.Your Doctor decides on the appropriate medication, dosage and duration of intake.Vestibular suppressants are normally not continued for long term as it can slow down the process of compensation.
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based program based on a detailed assessment by a trained vestibular Physiotherapist. VRT is effective in reducing, dizziness, vertigo and balance problems, there by minimize the risk of falls and helps to improve the quality of life in people with vestibular dysfunction. BPPV or the free-floating crystals in the inner ear is the common cause of Vertigo and the diagnosis is made with a test called Dix-Hallpike. The initial screening includes collecting a detailed history of your problem, tests for BPPV, assessment of visual problems, neurological test, visual screening and various balance test. Initial assessment will also help to differentiate between the vestibular problems due to dysfunction in your inner ear and dysfunction in the parts of brain which controls your balance and coordination.VRT is aslo effective in vestibular dysfunction following surgeries in your inner ear.
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