As seniors grow older, they become more prone to falls for a number of reasons, including worsening vision and balance. In fact, about one-third of elderly adults falls each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While you can improve the safety of seniors' environments, working on increasing their balance is the most effective way to prevent falls. Here are three simple and easy activities for at-home senior care providers to use to improve their clients' balance:
1. Leg swings
Stand upright without holding onto anything for support. Slowly lift one of your feet off the floor, and begin to slowly swing your leg forward and backward. Increase your range of motion as you gain more confidence, and switch legs after a couple of minutes.
2. Walking in a straight line
Place a piece of masking tape in a long straight line on the floor (hallways are great places for this). Starting at one end, walk heel to toe without ever stepping off of the tape.
3. Single-leg stand
While standing on a cushioned rug or carpet, see how long you can stand on one leg without putting your foot down or grabbing onto a support. The carpet will provide a less stable surface for this exercise, so beginners can stand on sturdy hardwood or tile if necessary.
Remember to always supervise your seniors while they are doing any of these exercises, in case they need someone to quickly support them!