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Poor balance causing injuries in elderly people

Poor balance causing injuries in elderly people
26th July 2016

Elderly people who experience a wrist injury are likely to struggle with their balance, putting them at a higher risk of suffering another fall in the future, a new study has suggested.

Published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the research highlights the importance of managing any underlying problems when an older person has a fall to try and prevent further problems in the future.

"Our study finds that older adults who sustain a wrist fracture are more likely to have poor balance compared to those who have not sustained this injury," said lead study author Dr Craig R. Louer, an orthopaedic surgery resident at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "These fractures should signal the need for an evaluation and possible treatment for balance deficits to decrease the risk of subsequent higher risk injuries, such as hip or spine fractures."

Occupational therapy can be a fantastic way to help promote better balance among people of all ages but it can be particularly effective in those who are older. With a mixture of therapy exercises and activities, it's possible to significantly boost a person's balance, reducing the risk of them suffering a fall in the future.

Professionals in this area can not only devise and monitor progress on balance-improving tasks, but can also be crucial in getting to the core reason behind why a person is experiencing problems with balance.

Often it can be linked to another condition - from issues with eyesight to hearing and even diabetes - which can only be properly managed once it is identified. This helps to reduce the risk that an elderly person will experience a fall in the future, which is crucial for promoting independence.

After a fall of any kind, many older people can lose their confidence when it comes to being active and getting around, which can have a negative impact on their ability to socialise and keep healthy, as well as jeopardising their mental wellbeing.

Occupational therapy and group activities can work to rebuild this confidence, ensuring that other areas of their life don't suffer after a fall. This can be especially important if they are living independently, as it helps ensure they can stay at home for as long as possible and that they are completely safe doing so.