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Will the Coronavirus shutdown lead to increased falls in the elderly?

Americans know that exercise and staying active are an important part of health and well being;  even more so for our vulnerable older population. So, what should we be doing during the “Coronavirus Shutdown of 2020”?  As a Physical Therapist at Muscle IQ, here in Provo, Utah, it is my professional opinion, from 20 years of experience, that this virus shutdown will have some unintended consequences to our older population.  This forced inactivity may lead to increased falls. Those with difficulty walking need to continue their physical therapy during this crisis.

The risk of the coronavirus is real for the elderly.  But, what is the risk of inactivity? Is it safe for everyone to stay home for weeks or months?  If you are older, an extended period of inactivity can lead to a significant decrease in muscle strength and an increase in the risk of falls.  Hip fractures in the elderly frequently leads to death. The CDC states that “every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall in the United States.”  

What the studies show:  

  • Each year over 300,000 older people—those 65 and older—are hospitalized for hip fractures.   

  • Older adults have a five-to-eight times higher risk of dying within the first three months of a hip fracture compared to those without a hip fracture. 

  • In 2015 alone, more than one in four older adults reported falling and more than 28,000 older adults died as a result of falls

We can reduce the risk of falls with physical therapy.  If you or a loved one is having difficulty walking you could be at increased risk for falls.  Staying inactive for the next several weeks will lead to muscle weakness and increased fall risk.  

At Muscle IQ we evaluate for fall risk and provide treatment for those at high risk for falls.  Our patients enjoy a personalized plan of care which also includes the use of our Alter-G anti-gravity treadmills.  

We provide a safe environment for restoring normal walking by taking off a percentage of your body weight. We can help combat the deconditioning that can occur during the forced inactivity due to the Coronavirus.  Muscle IQ is a safe environment to receive physical therapy during the shutdown.

Give us a call at: 801-310-0851

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