Balance, Postural Control, and Falls in Older AdultsPage 10 of 11

8. Conclusion

Falls are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among older adults in the United States and throughout the world. In recent years, research is leading us to clinical interventions that have been shown to reduce the risk of falls and lessen the number and severity of injuries caused by falls.

Healthcare provider attitudes about falls in older adults are slowly changing as researchers find ways to bring evidence-based findings into the clinical setting. Programs such as the Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention are working directly with a range of healthcare providers, encouraging the adoption of screening and assessment tools and educating clinicians about the importance of identifying and treating balance disorders in older adults.

An understanding of the factors associated with poor balance, such as impaired strength, decreased flexibility, and sensory dysfunction, can help clinicians understand and treat the source of balance disorders in older adults. Assessment tools such as the Berg Balance test and the Timed Up and Go test are helping clinicians accurately assess and treat balance problems in their older adult clients.

With an increased emphasis on interdisciplinary interventions, healthcare providers are working together to design fall-risk reduction programs using exercise, home modification programs, and multifaceted interventions to reduce the falls and injuries among their older adult clients.

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