Staying Balanced: January 4, 2011

As we age, we start to see things begin to change. Maybe it's a few graying hairs or lines around the mouth. Some people may assume that losing their balance is also part of that equation, but that's simply not the case. "That's the unfortunate part. If we have that basic belief, then we'll just accept the fact that it's normal," says physical therapist Nathalie Grondin. She conducts balance screenings at The Balance Clinics.

"I've seen a lady who fell 25 times in the last year and she doesn't seem too alarmed by it. That worries me. My comment is one fall is one fall too many. That's when this is really, really dangerous."

In order to prevent falls, Lee Memorial Health System has launched the Step Wise Lee Initiative. From home assessments to community events, it's a way to keep everyone safe and injury free. The Balance Clinic provides screenings to help those who may be at risk of tripping or falling. "By doing these screenings, it's a quick and easy way to kind of have a look at 'ahh, should I be paying attention?"

Therapists will examine head, neck, and eye coordination. How a person handles certain obstacles. Then, it's on to the balance machine. "The other test we have is the platform that will move and that will test your automatic reactions, tell us if you muscular contraction, your reaction, is happening in a timely fashion."

Do you feel like you are falling when you aren't? Are you prone to tripping or falling easily? Do you rely on counters or walls to help you walk around? Then a balance screening is recommended. The Lee Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness is hosting a free screening Tuesday, January 11th. To register, you can call 239 574-0317.