Falls pose one of the greatest dangers to a senior’s independence and self-sufficiency. More than one-third of people aged 65 and older fall each year, and those who fall once are two to three times more likely to fall again. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries and are responsible for significant disability, hospitalization, loss of independence, and reduced quality of life. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Here are four ways in which you can help your loved one to avoid falls.
1. Practice daily strengthening exercises:Balance and coordination can be greatly improved through exercise. Exercise that improves strength, reaction time, and aerobic capacity is the best way to maintain strong muscles and balance. The most effective exercises can be integrated into activities of daily living and focus on balance and strength building. Here are some examples, though they should be carried out as appropriate for the senior’s current strength and balance:
- Hold onto the sink and stand on one leg while brushing teeth.
- While talking on the telephone, hold onto the wall and lean to one side, then the other to improve balance.
- While putting laundry away, bend the knees and then straighten the legs to build muscle strength.