For many of us, a fall may very well be in our future.
Dorothy Baker from the Department of Geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine says, “Between 30 and 40 percent of ordinary adults over 65 years old in Connecticut are going to fall this year. We’re not talking about patients at nursing homes and hospitals, just ordinary adults in the state.”
In fact — falling is one of the leading reasons for older adults in Connecticut to call 911 and trips to the ER.
So, Baker has teamed up with students and professors from Quinnipiac’s physical therapy program to study the effects of Thai Chi on balance and risk of falling.
Katie Petersen is a third year graduate student and one of four Quinnipiac physical therapy students part of the research team, “Tai chi is fantastic for the elderly. It requires them to be slow to move outside their base of support and center of mass and really challenges their balance and works all those muscles that we know keep people upright.”
Donald Kowalsky, associate professor of physical therapy, believes integrating Tai Chi into patient’s in home rehab regimen will scale back repeated falls, re-hospitalization, and ultimately add up to a major cost savings for the healthcare system.
“I think that if we can keep people on their feet and prevent falls it’s going to benefit not only the state financially but the well being of patients and that’s the ultimate goal.”