As we get older, aging and degeneration begin to affect the functioning of our body systems, such as the visual system, nervous system and musculoskeletal system. Degeneration of these various systems will cause a gradual decrease in strength, as well as a decline in balance abilities, thus increasing the risk of falls.
Falls, of course, bring a number of additional risks with them, such as broken or fractured bones, spondylolisthesis (when a spinal vertebra slips over the one below it, causing nerve roots to be squeezed) and other disabilities. It’s therefore extremely important to undergo balance testing in order to determine the level of risk of falls in elderly patients.
Remarks: Rise from the chair, walk three meters, turn around, walk back to the chair and sit down. This process will be timed from start to finish. If it takes longer than 12 seconds to complete the exercise, this indicates the patient has an increased risk of falling.
|Chair Stand Below Average Scores|
Age Range (years)
Remarks: Set a timer for 30 seconds. Once the timer starts, the patient must rise to a full standing position and then sit back down again. Count the number of times the patient comes to a full standing position in 30 seconds. Compare that number to the normal number for their age range. If the patient’s number is below average, this indicates an increased risk of falling.
Steps for testing: At each stage, the patient must hold a certain standing position for a total of 10 seconds. Elderly patients who cannot hold the 3rd stance (tandem stance) for at least 10 seconds are at an increased risk of falling.
“If you follow the procedures in the test above and you start to waver or lose your balance, or if you experience any exercise injuries, you should meet with your doctor immediately to determine possible causes and undergo a risk assessment under a doctor’s supervision.”
|Internal Risk Factors||External Risk Factors|
|1. Increased age||1. No handrails|
|2. History of falls||2. Stairway steps too high or too narrow|
|3. Weak muscles||3. Obstructions in walkway|
|4. Problems with balance or walking||4. Inadequate or overly bright lighting|
|5. Problems with vision||5. Slippery floors or uneven surfaces|
|6. Postural hypotension (a drop in blood pressure due to a change in body position)||6. Use of inappropriate walking aids|
|7. A chronic disease, such as osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, bowel incontinence, etc.||7. Medication affecting the nervous system|
|8. Fear of falling|
M.D.,Faculty of Medicine Chulalongkorn University , King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, 2006.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, 2000.
The Degree of Doctor of Medicine (with license from Thai Medical Council), Faculty of Medicine, Siri