Preventing falls key to new device

The Balance Master Katey Lent and Suzanne Lewis set up in the community room at Living Court Assisted Living facility looked and played like a video game.

Visitors of all ages could step stocking-footed onto the forceplate as either of the two physical therapists or their staff members guided them through a series of prompts on the screen. Moving the little man on the screen into the box by leaning left, right, forward and back was fun for each participant, but it is also informative for Lent and Lewis.

The interactive technology provides instant, objective assessment.

“It’s a good way to measure before and after,” said Lent, who plans to use the machine to help with vestibular rehabilitation and balance retraining. “As a therapist, it’s been a great tool for me in both testing and treatment.”

Lent and Lewis, who own In Home Rehab of Enumclaw, purchased the piece in November and began using it with patients in January. The May 5 open house was educational. The pair plan to roll out the machine for public view again in September as part of national senior fall prevention month.

It’s not inevitable that as people age balance becomes more difficult, but as the body wears more risk factors surface like physical ailments or reactions like dizziness to medications.