Causes, effects and prevention of the fear of falling as the topic of an international seminar
Last week, the degree programmes and R&D of elderly care and physiotherapy and organised an international seminar in Rovaniemi focusing on the well-being of the elderly, especially from the point of view of physiotherapy and health sciences.
Falling and the fear of falling cause human suffering and constitute a significant socioeconomic issue in all of Europe.
other things, the seminar involved a closer look at a research
conducted at the Luleå University of Technology and Aalto University and
Women fall more often than men
to Lars Nyberg, professor of physiotherapy, the risk of falling for the
elderly has been studied since the 1950s, although the research focused
on data collection in the early years.
Current research confirms
that elderly women fall more often than men do, and that regular
exercise can effectively prevent the risks that lead to falling.
However, physical exercise is not effective if there is a serious
cognitive disorder such as dementia in the background. One of the
challenges is to find the right intensity of exercise.
Posture control, reactions and senses
control and the fear of falling are linked to each other. Doctoral
researcher Mascha Pauelsen from the University of Luleå has studied the
fear of falling and its effects using both interview and questionnaire
studies and laboratory tests.
There are both psychological and
physiological factors in the background of the fear of falling. The
strength of the lower limbs is an important factor in retaining posture
control, but reaction speed and the functioning of the senses also play a
Utilising virtual reality
The floor was
also given to companies in the seminar. Peili Vision Oy uses a new
concept of neurological rehabilitation that utilises virtual reality
(VR). For example, the customer’s field of vision can be expanded with
VR when there are disturbances in making visual observations. VR has
also been used successfully in the rehabilitation of depression
The HUR company, on the other hand, introduced the
seminar audience to a test plan for the risk of falling and an exercise
concept developed to prevent falling.
fellow Seija Vaalto from Aalto University has studied the ability of
the brain to change through long-term gross motor skill exercise. Her
suggestion for action is unambiguous: Don’t stop moving. If one has
learned a skill or a sport in one’s youth, the skill will remain even
after many years.
Mascha Pauelsen, PhD candidate in Physiotherapy at Luleå University of Technology
Photos: Miisa Häyrynen