Rotary of Jamestown Hosts OPT Workshop on Fall Prevention

By admin

A beautiful sunrise over the Newport Bridge was the backdrop for a morning workshop of the Jamestown Rotary.  Bert Reid was the guest speaker on the topic of “Living Lively after 65”, and Fall Prevention.  An enthusiastic group of Rotarians heard information on surprising stats of fall risks, tests to predict gait and fall problems, types of exercise that best prevent falls by the elderly and more.  Most notably, research indicators look toward exercises that challenge balance in the standing position as the most proven method to improve balance and avoid falls.  Greater than 2 hours per week was shown to be a minimum time frame for showing improvement.  Treadmills and just a general walking program were not effective in decreasing risk and not shown to improve fall prevention, and the risks of treadmill accidents are significant.  In comparison, weight-bearing balance challenges are the direction the elderly should take.  There are simple tests with predictive rates as high as 90% to assess fall risk.  Your PT can show you how to take the test, and how to improve your ability to prevent falls.  In fact, speed of walking tests can be predictive of falls and for the need for rehab, all based on the best-evidence available.  Surprisingly, the “Fear of Falling” which leads to a change in normal gait can lead to a greater increase in fall likelihood.  It seems counter-intuitive, but by adopting gait changes that detract from normal patterns will increase ones risk.  So, normal walking patterns, re-learned with the help of the PT through strength and conditioning, can reduce the risk of a fall.  And, most importantly, the unexpected fall that leads to a big problem such as a fracture or a period of convalescence is proven to lead to a rapid downfall in general health.

The group also learned about what makes a shoe a sturdy, supportive proper shoe as compared to a non-supportive shoe.  Different shoes and inserts were discussed, and the lesson learned was that better shoes with more support can reduce the risk of falls.

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