ACCORDING TO THE U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injuries for older Americans. Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. And those who fall once are two to three times more likely to fall again.* The statistics:

  • One-third of Americans 65 and older fall each year.
  • Every 13 seconds, an older adult is treated in the ER for a fall.
  • Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • One-half of all falls are preventable.**

And in Sarasota, this problem has even greater consequences. Sarasota’s population of seniors aged 65+ is 36 percent, nearly three times greater than the national average.

That’s why Pines of Sarasota has developed the Ready & Steady – A Plan for Better Balance program. Pines has spent the last nearly 70 years responding to the needs of seniors, and it’s our goal for older adults to live their lives with the best quality imaginable. Knowing your risk of falling and being able to target your balance issues in the first step toward preventing falls. Ready & Steady offers FREE falls risk assessments to help you focus on and treat balance issues you may have.

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Do you worry about falling, or feel unsteady? The free falls risk assessment can help put your mind at ease. Ready & Steady also offers an online questionnaire that can help you decide if you need an in-person assessment. Answering these questions can give you the information you need before you call.

Jason A. Collins, M.D., orthopedic and sports medicine physician with Intercoastal Medical Group and Pines of Sarasota’s Medical Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services and Balance Programs, says, “We have all experienced a loss of balance; with age, that loss can have greater consequences. Once a patient falls, it’s a serious event with injuries that range from broken hips to head trauma. In my more than 10 years in orthopedic and sports medicine, I’ve seen falls drastically alter a patient’s quality of life.

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“One of our great community resources is the falls prevention and balance program at Pines of Sarasota, Ready & Steady – A Plan for Better Balance. It’s a solid program, and I recommend it because of its comprehensive process. If you know your weaknesses and your risk of falling, and take a proactive approach to restoring your balance, it’s easier to prevent a fall. Taking steps to mitigate a fall will do a lot more to preserve your lifestyle and overall health than treating an injury after the fact.”

Ready & Steady’s FREE balance assessment is conducted by a certified physical therapist. It takes approximately 20 minutes, and results are held confidentially. These are the simple steps:

  • Fill out a questionnaire on your medical conditions, medications and activity level;
  • Take the “Timed Up and Go” test, which evaluates you sitting, standing and walking;
  • Finally, a certified therapist will assess you with the state-of-the-art Biodex Balance System™ SD machine, using three 20-second trials.

Based on your interview and test results, a comprehensive analysis of your level of risk for falling is discussed and a program customized for you. That may include preventative programs like tai chi classes; a home environment assessment by an occupational therapist; adjustments in medications, eyewear or footwear; and prescribed physical therapy that includes strength, balance and gait training, which could be covered by Medicare and/or health insurance.

Outcomes of the Ready & Steady program so far for patients treated at Pines of Sarasota have been successful. Many of those who received the free assessment and were considered to be at risk chose Pines for their balance therapy. Of these patients, 100 percent saw improvement after physical therapy; in fact, 80 percent of them showed significant improvement in balance and strength.

Falling can forever change the quality of your life. To determine your risk of falling or that of someone you care about, call Ready & Steady at (941) 552-1882 for your appointment.

*Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, STEADI.
**The National Council on Aging.

Ready & Steady – A Plan for Better Balance
Supporting the Mission of Pines of Sarasota
1501 N. Orange Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 552-1882