Keep Your Balance

From the CDC:  Falling is the leading cause of injury death for those 65 and older.  One out of three adults over 65 fall every year.  Less than half talk to their doctor about it.  (Some studies use 45 and older)

Head injuries, fractures, lacerations and fear, all resulting from falls, can lead to a loss of independence and mobility restriction.  Some people become so afraid about falling that they severely restrict their activities.  They become more dependent on others and lose some quality of life.

What keeps us vertical?

There are three systems that provide the input that keeps us balanced.  Vision is more than being able to read a chart in your doctor’s office.  Depth perception and tracking objects are also important skills.  It is important to have vision tested for all of these, especially if there have been balance changes.  Vestibular (inner ear) problems can become more frequent as we age.  There are tests and treatments for inner ear issues.  Proprioception involves the information your brain gets from the muscles and joints about what position they are in.  This area is the easiest to work on independently before and after seeking advice from your primary care doctor, ENT and/or physical therapist.  Processing the information in the brain and sending signals back out to the body is the last step.

So what can we do?

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