Falls are one of the main causes of long-term pain and impairment in older adults. According to the Centers for disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three people age 65 and older will experience a fall. Not only do these produce pain and possible long-term disabilities, those that fall are twice as likely to experience another fall compared to those that are fall-free.
BMJ published a study which was conducted on 4,305 participants in order to determine whether fall prevention exercise programs for older people were effective in preventing different types of fall related injuries. Their conclusion: “Exercise programs designed to prevent falls in older adults also seem to prevent injuries caused by falls, including the most severe ones. Such programs also reduce the rate of falls leading to medical care.” The following exercises have been shown to increase balance, strength and flexibility.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese marital art that has been growing in popularity among seniors. It encompasses postures and slow, steady movement that flow from one into the other. If you’ve seen a group of people at the park making slow-motion movements in unison, you’ve probably witnessed Tai Chi. It is roughly equivalent to the same workout intensity as that of a brisk walk. It improves strength, flexibility and range of motion. Studies have shown that it can reduce falls in seniors by up to 45 percent.
Fall Prevention Programs
There are specific classes designed for older adults to help them live independently and prevent falls. Two such classes include Stepping On and A Matter of Balance. A Matter of Balance consists not only of exercises to promote strength and flexibility, but also help for those concerned with falls by suggesting different strategies designed to decrease their fall risk. This includes tips to reduce the risk of falling in their home. It is an 8-week group program where your parent can not only help prevent a fall but meet a few new friends in the process.
Stepping On addresses the statistic that 30 percent of older people who fall lose their confidence, leading to less social engagement. This inactivity leads to loss of muscle strength and balance, and a vicious cycle begins. Stepping Up is designed to break that cycle. It includes strength and balance exercises as well as other tips to stay safe with suggestions as to what might increase or decrease the participants risk of falling.
Classes can be found at your local senior community center and other exercise venues. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging. The local YMCA may be offering YMCA Moving for Better Balance, a 12-week program that is based on the principles of Tai Chi and is designed to improve strength, mobility, flexibility and balance.
Elder Care Provider
If your loved one has experienced a fall and needs assistance with the daily activities of living, consider obtaining the services of an elder care provider. These professionals can not only assist with everyday tasks, but prepare healthy meals and accompany your parent on daily walks as well as provide transportation to their exercise classes.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Queen Creek, AZ, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today: 480-377-6770.