Performance West says more falls happen during the winter than any other season. To help prevent falls, seniors need to work on their strength and endurance as well as range of motion and reaction time.
“Falls are predictable and preventable events,” said Performance West Therapy.
Amanda Thompson, who is a therapist at Performance West, will be conducting the free screenings on Friday, Nov. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 22. She said falls don’t need to be an inevitable part of ageing.
What Thompson will focus on are strategies to help balance. The eyes, ears and feet are all a part of our balance system, and they are what need to be checked in a senior’s balance.
The inner ears are supposed to send warning signals to our brain of unsteadiness or any kind of weakness. If the ears are too full of fluid or at all damaged, they can’t send those warning signals.
Like the ears, our feet have the job of detecting what types of surfaces we place them on. Nerves on the bottoms of our feet send signals back to the brain of imbalance. If those nerves are damaged or weakened, there may not be enough warning time to prevent a fall.
To test a person’s balance, Thompson will use computerized dynamic posturography, which will test postural stability. A platform with sensors record the amount of sway a patient has. It has a harness for safety, and drops down on a spring to challenge a person’s balance and reaction.
Throughout the process, a patient will experience these drops with eyes closed and open. Patients will reach for the center of gravity to balance themselves each time.
Thompson and Performance West Therapy says the two best ways to prevent falls are checking your vision and getting exercise. The ankles and hips are the ones that need the most strength and endurance. Walking is the best exercise to prevent falls. Even walking around the house several rounds will help build up that endurance.
Thompson’s goal is to help seniors achieve stability.