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Published on June 14, 2016

Steady as you go: Stay upright with our balance program

A grandfather can once more make it to his grandson’s baseball games because he’s steady on his feet.

balanceAnother senior is no longer stranded at home because she can manage the steps on city buses.

And yet another woman can safely walk sandy beaches again on vacations with her family.

All three are moving with confidence now, thanks to Nazareth Hospital’s Balance Program. Since its start in 2013, the program has helped over 300 area adults regain lost balance and protect themselves from dangerous falls.

How dangerous? One in five falls causes a serious injury, and falls are the top cause of death from injury in older adults.

“That’s why it’s so important to tell your doctor if you feel dizzy or unsteady,” says Heather Wilkinson, DPT, Physical Therapist with the program. “Don’t wait for a fall to happen.”

Speaking up is especially important if:

  • You’re older than 65
  • Your vision or hearing is getting worse
  • You take multiple medicines
  • You have health issues that increase your risk of falling, such as Parkinson’s disease

Finding your footing

If your doctor refers you to the Balance Program, here’s what you can expect:

You’ll undergo computerized balance testing on our NeuroCom Balance Master. NASA developed it to test the balance of astronauts after their return from space.

Next, our therapists will use these and other test results to design an exercise and education program just for you.

“A big part of our job is to uncover what’s contributing to your balance problem,” Wilkinson says. “Is it your posture? How you position your feet? Muscle weakness? Once we have the answers, we tailor the treatment.”

Typically, the program lasts for 8 to 12 weeks. Most participants see a dramatic improvement in their ability to stay steady and safe.

“This program works,” Wilkinson says. “And it changes lives.”

You need a prescription to participate in the Balance Program. Ask your doctor if it’s right for you.

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