Dizziness and balance problems can affect people at different ages, but seniors are particularly susceptible, notes Shannon Vaverka, OTR/L, an Occupational Therapist at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center’s Center for Rehabilitation.
“Patients may not always feel comfortable telling their doctor or family members, but these problems are very common,” she notes. “Many of the patients we see want to keep living independently in their homes. Avoiding falls, and improving balance, can reduce the risk of a serious injury and help them stay in their homes safely.”
Balance problems can be associated with various conditions. Usually, when a person begins to experience balance problems, it is related to a combination of coexisting conditions such as muscle weakness, painful joints, loss of sensation in the feet, disequilibrium and dizziness.
“The Balance Enhancement and Safety Training (BEST) Program at St. Mary’s has been helping patients overcome these challenges for more than 15 years,” Vaverka says.
The BEST program uses a comprehensive approach that includes balance enhancement, strengthening, functional mobility training, compensation strategies, fall prevention and safety training. The goal is to help support patients' independence with mobility and daily living activities.
Using this approach, the team at St. Mary’s works to whittle away at every possible factor that could contribute to a fall, so patients can experience the greatest positive impact.
St. Mary’s Center for Rehabilitation offers free balance and fall-risk screenings by appointment at its outpatient facility at 2123 Willow Road, Enid 73703. You may then discuss the findings with your doctor to determine a plan of care. For more information, please call 580-237-8278.