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Published on June 26, 2017

Q and A: Heading off a fall

As Humpty Dumpty knows, falling can be dangerous—particularly as you get older.

Woman balancingA number of things can raise your risk for falling, such as vision problems, home hazards and poor balance. But there are steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of taking a tumble.

Kristina Oplinger, PT, DPT, Balance Program Coordinator and Senior Therapist at Nazareth Hospital, answers a few key questions about falling.

Why are falls a serious concern for older adults?

About 1 in 3 people 65 and older fall in the U.S. every year. Up to 30 percent of those falls result in some sort of injury—many of them serious. And the majority of hip fractures are caused by falls.

What can I do to reduce my risk for falling?

There are a lot of preventive steps you can take:

  • Exercise to improve your strength and balance.
  • Wear supportive shoes.
  • Have your vision and hearing checked every year.
  • Remove tripping hazards like throw rugs from your house.
  • Have good lighting in your home, especially in your hallway and bathroom.
  • Install grab bars and non-slip mats in your shower.

What is the Balance Program at Nazareth Hospital, and how can it help me?

It’s a program to help adults regain lost balance and protect themselves from falling. You’ll be screened and evaluated by a physical therapist to help identify your personal risk factors and determine your care. Then a therapist will put together an exercise program for strength and balance based on your needs.

Getting to Know You

Kristina OplingerName: Kristina Oplinger, PT, DPT

Specialty: Physical Therapy

Education: Earned her undergraduate degree at University of the Sciences and her doctor of physical therapy degree at Thomas Jefferson University.

Personal: She became interested in a career in physical therapy after experiencing a sports injury in high school.

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