Every year some-3,000 people end up in Sioux Falls Emergency Rooms because of injuries they suffered in falls and most of those patients are seniors. Physical Therapists at Avera McKennan and the folks at Active Generations want to help bring those numbers down. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on their goal which is to prevent slips, trips and broken hips.
Lisa Howard is the Program Director at Active Generations and is running center member Bev Swalley through a series of 4 exercises to test her balance. Seniors are more prone to falls if their center of gravity is teetering.
Howard says, "We screen people on balance because it enables us to see if the person is low on strength in their legs, if they have visual problems, center of gravity issues or maybe sensory issues. Once we determine what the deficits are we can make recommendations in those areas."
Bev has a couple of things working against her in the balance department. She has Parkinson's Disease and she is recovering from knee replacement surgery.
Bev says, "I really spend my whole day trying not to fall."
Most falls happen at home and most of the patients that end up in the ER because of those falls are 65 or older. Bev fits into that category. She has taken two nasty spills.
Bev says, "With Parkinson's you tend to over backwards and you don't know when it's coming. Once I fell down the stairs with the grocery cart. We were tumbling together. My bones must be strong because I haven't broken anything."
Another thing seniors need to be mindful of is their shoes. They should have a grip on the bottom. And a test to check their leg strength is to see if they can get out of a chair without using the arms on the chair.
Nancy Klinkhammer is a community educator for Avera McKennan and a physical therapist. She says, "There are a number of things we can do to prevent falls. Exercise is one of best ones. To stay active and stay strong is important. People who are not active get weaker everyday. If they can incorporate exercise everyday they may prevent falls and injuries down the road."
Lisa Howard says, "All things people can do to be proactive. We encourage people to take the initiative and prevent falls themselves."
Bev's peers should take a good look at what she's doing to stay off the ground and out of the ER.
Bev says, "I am very aware of my surroundings and very mindful of every step. You have to be, if you forget, you fall."
It's also a good idea for seniors to have their eyes checked by a doctor every year. Also ask your doctor and pharmacist to review your medicines both prescription and over-the-counter to reduce side effects and interactions.
Wednesday, February 16, 2:30 PM
Avera McKennan Education Center Classroom 2
810 E 23rd Street
To register or more information call 877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372)