PTs Offer Falls Prevention Assessment at AARP Expo

As frontline providers, physical therapists can help reduce falls and fall-related injuries 

ALEXANDRIA, VA, October 20, 2009 — Physical therapists from Nevada will be offering free balance tests and speaking with attendees on various health-related issues at the AARP "VEGAS@50+" Expo at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 22-24, 2009. The physical therapists will offer these services at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) booth, #833.

Expo attendees can receive a simple and quick balance test and then will be given written results, along with recommendations from a licensed physical therapist for improving balance. These tests may discover balance problems before they cause a fall, allowing the individual to possibly prevent serious injury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of adults ages 65 and older fall each year in the United States. Falls are the leading cause of deaths due to injuries and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma in the older adult population.

"Many people erroneously consider falling a normal consequence of aging," says Las Vegas physical therapist and APTA spokesperson Andrea Avruskin, PT, DPT, ATC, LAT. "It's simply not true. Falling in older adults is very often a result of lost strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination or balance, as well as a side effect of medications or loss of vision. There are evidence-based physical therapy treatments that help prevent falls in older adults."

Physical therapists assess each person individually and determine the risk factors for falling, such as loss of mobility, loss of balance, weakness, incoordination, ambulation problems, home environment dangers, and decreased confidence. Physical therapists create specialized programs to address those risks and then guide the person through the program.

APTA urges older adults to schedule a balance and falls assessment with a physical therapist to reduce the risk of falls and related injuries.

In addition to performing a fall-avoidance program designed specifically by a physical therapist, older adults should:

  • Ask all health care providers to review their medicines - both prescription and over-the counter - to reduce side effects and interactions.
  • Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
  • Reduce fall hazards in the home, such as pets, loose rugs, debris and poor lighting.

Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. APTA represents approximately 76,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice, education, and research. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com.

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