Did you know that one in three people over the age of 65 suffer an accidental fall each year, and one-third of those falls result in serious injury? Falls are a threat to the health of older adults and can reduce their ability to remain independent. However, falls don’t have to be inevitable as we age.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, incorporating strength, motion, and balance exercises into everyday activities reduces the rate of accidental falls by 31%. For instance, when carrying groceries from the car, subjects may have been instructed to walk sideways to work on balance. When picking up objects from the floor or lower shelves, participants were taught to bend at the knees (and not at the waist) to work on leg strength. When getting up from a chair, some subjects were taught to not use the arms of the chair – to make it more difficult.
While this study focused on people over the age of 70, this is good advice for any adult. As we age, we lose strength faster from inactivity and build strength more slowly from exercise. Add to that our tendency to exercise less as we age, and we have a formula for waning ability. Can you stand on one foot and raise your other foot to you to tie your shoe? Do you bend at your knees and lift with your legs?
Accidental falls send 9% of people over age 65 to the emergency department every year. For older adults, it may be risky to implement a strategy like this without a professional consultation. If you’re ready to take a stand against falls, give us a call. We can help.