Do you know Your Numbers?
It is often commonplace for adults to discuss their general health status among friends and family. An individual’s general health status is often evaluated in terms of their “vitals” or “health numbers.” The four main vital signs routinely monitored include: body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate (rate of breathing), and blood pressure (blood pressure is not considered a vital sign, but is often measured along with the vital signs). These “vital signs” are taken with most medical visits and they are useful in early detection or monitoring of medical problems.
In a similar way of vital importance, national fall prevention groups as well as the local Rochester Falls Coalition of Olmsted County strongly encourage adults over the age of 55 to “know their numbers” regarding balance, strength, and mobility. Knowing these numbers or scores determined using standardized tests that can be provided by a therapist or other qualified health professional can be life-saving. Early detection of balance, strength, and mobility concerns are part of the growing effort towards increasing the implementation of fall prevention education and exercise. Increasing awareness and proactive measures are breaking down the cultural norms, reminding us that falling is NOT a normal part of growing older.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) cites that “Falls are a threat to the health of older adults and can reduce their ability to remain independent. However, falls aren’t something that just happens when you age, there are proven ways to reduce falls.”
The CDC has an excellent website providing increased information and tools such as the “Stay Independent, are you at Risk” questionnaire which can help facilitate discussion and education on this sometimes sensitive subject. Other excellent standardized tests and toolboxes for screening individuals are also available at this site. https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html
Knowing and periodically monitoring your numbers regarding your strength, balance, and mobility is a great way to maximize your independence and the desired quality of life for as long as you can. Early detection of decreasing scores can help lead to early assistance towards research-proven programs for fall prevention education and safe exercise.
Researched based Fall prevention education and fitness classes are available in Rochester and the surrounding communities! Please refer to Wellconnect for local research-proven programs and find a program near you. http://www.wellconnectsemn.org/
Contact your doctor, therapist, or another appropriate medical professional to “know your numbers” and check your balance, strength, and mobility scores to arm you with the power to maximize your independence and live the healthy lifestyle you desire.
Do you know Your Numbers? Make an appointment at Exercisabilities today!
By: Lisa Bailey, PT Fall prevention and Aquatic Therapy Lead, Rochester Falls Coalition Member
Lisa Bailey, PT has been working with fall prevention for over 17 years in the community and as a practicing PT. She has a specialty in geriatric care and fall prevention and has been an active part of the Fall’s coalition of Olmsted County. She has previously instructed fall prevention programming such as SAIL (Stay active and independent for life) and also partners with the Mayo Clinic for community-based fall prevention programming such as Stepping On. She is passionate about meeting older adults where they are and assisting them with a fall prevention program that works for them! She knows taking this step is life-changing.
Please call today and request an assessment!
Over these challenging times, many individuals have shown a decline of strength, balance, and mobility placing them at an increased risk for falls and jeopardizing their safety in their current living environments. Whether being proactive or reacting to changes you’ve noticed over the last year, please call and request to get scheduled for a professional therapist assessment.