Did you know that 30% of adults 65 years and over will experience at least one Prevent Falls per year? It’s a very sad fact but falls remain the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Australia with approximately 200,000 falls each year resulting in hospitalization.
As we age, risk factors for falls increase due to the normal aging process. Some of these changes can include a person’s general health, vision, the anxiety of falling, medication, and reduction in strength and muscle mass. All of this can contribute to the increased risk of falls.
Many of the risks we have listed above can be managed and modified to help reduce the risk of falls. Let’s take a look at some!
The Five E’s of fall prevention can be effective at reducing the risk of falls and also injury related to falls.
1. Environment: Take a look around the home in each room and remove any hazards that may be fall hazards.
‒ Repair or remove loose rugs and floorboards from your home.
‒ Use non-slip mats in your bathtub or shower, or use a shower chair in the bathroom.
‒ Remove any clutter around the house for easy access.
– Place night lights or have a torch in easy access.
‒ Install railings and grab rails as needed.
‒ Wear appropriate, supportive, and well-fitted shoes.
2. Exercise: Exercise is a fantastic way to reduce risks, in fact, the more we exercise the better our strength and balance will become!
Exercises that can help to reduce the risk of falls include:
‒ Balance exercises: these include exercises such as standing on one leg.
‒ Resistance/strength training: using hand-held weights, resistance bands, bodyweight exercises, and gym-based exercise machines.
‒ Flexibility exercises such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates.
‒ Aerobic exercises that are low impact including walking.
3. Eyes ‒ Have an annual eye test to monitor for any visual changes including cataracts and other eye or vision changes.
4. Ears ‒ Hearing loss has been associated with an increased risk of falls.
‒ Dizziness can also contribute to falls including Vertigo and other inner ear problems.
‒ Have your hearing checked to monitor for any changes.
5. Education ‒ A great way to reduce risk is to educate yourself on all the steps you can take to improve your own safety. This could be attending education talks and seminars or even understanding what medication you are taking. Medication cause adverse reactions to your balance, vision or hearing so learn about this by talking to your GP or Pharmacist.
Consider yoga and Pilates to improve balance!
Where to from here?
Taking part in an exercise program Prevent falls should be something that we aspire to continue for many years. Changing our own behavior is important Sticking to an exercise program is a fantastic way to improve our own safety.
Making the exercise program something that is enjoyable, and sociable as well as benefits your health can be a way to improve health, reduce the risk of falls, and maintain your independence. Participating in group exercise programs catering to older adults is a way to ensure safety and gain benefits for your health.
Exercise programs such as Tai Chi, gentle group exercise classes, yoga, and Pilates for seniors, as well as going for a walk are all appropriate and beneficial physical activities.
If you’d like to know more about improving your balance, there are hundreds of Accredited Exercise Physiologists who can support you through one on one sessions or in a group class setting. To find your closest expert, click here.
Written by: Silvana Deep (Accredited Exercise Physiologist, ESSAM)
https://www.healthline.com/symptom/dizziness#causes Vitkovic, J., Le, C., Lee, S. L., & Clark, R. A. (2016). The contribution of hearing and hearing loss to balance control. Audiology and neurotology, 21(4), 195-202.