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Thursday, February 29, 2024
‘The best defence is a good offence’ says falls prevention specialist
Trevor Kwolek performs a balance test on Chris Phibbs. She said the Learn & Live session was a “great resource for quite a few people who came.” JULIA SACCO

One of the most common ways people experience falls is ascending and descending stairs, says vestibular therapist Trevor Kwolek – but it could happen anywhere. 

During the last Learn & Live session on the season titled “Spin City: Dizziness and Falls Prevention,” Kwolek addressed attendees at the NOTL Public Library.

Because everyone lives their lives so differently, Kwolek’s approach to each patient at risk for a fall is different.

“I don’t try to prepare everyone for a certain situation,” he said. “I tend to take an individualized approach.” 

In the example of falling down the stairs, he gave a variety of factors that can be considered when preparing for a fall in one’s home.

“What’s your home situation like? How many steps does it take to get into your house? Once you’re in your house is it a bungalow or do you have a three-storey home? How about the number of chairs?” he said, stating some of the questions one should ask about their environment.

“Talking about some of the environment and some of the things around them that may be a risk, that’s a conversation I have,” he said.

Almost one-third of all people over the age of 65 will experience a fall within a year, Kwolek said, with 85 per cent of those falls resulting in hospitalization. 

“We don’t know the causes of them necessarily, but we know they’re going to happen,” he said.

Kwolek touched on a variety of different factors that can increase one’s risk for a fall, like impaired balance, a variety of vestibular disorders, medication side effects, or even things as simple to address as footwear. 

“The best defence is a good offence,” he said, emphasizing that if you think you are at risk, the best mode of action is to make an appointment with him or visit a fall prevention class. 

“Falls prevention (classes) don’t necessarily have the time to assess the 40 people who come into a falls prevention class, they need a more broad scale,” he said.

Kwolek added that in an appointment with him, he can more specifically analyze risks on a case-by-case basis.

The vestibular therapist operates out of Great North Physiotherapy at 1882 Niagara Stone Rd. and can be reached at trevor@greatnorthphysio.ca

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