A fall can have serious consequences especially for an older adult. The National Council on Aging cites statistics showing “one in four Americans 65 years or older falls each year, every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.” They add that falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
Loss of balance in seniors can be caused from many things including inner ear problems such as vertigo, failing eyesight, numbness in feet and legs, arthritis, chronic diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis), medications and heart problems. A condition called orthostatic hypotension, which is a drop in blood pressure, can also result in feelings of dizziness, light headedness, or feeling faint and lead to falls.
To keep your muscles strong and help prevent falls, you need to keep moving, and the best way to improve mobility and balance is through training exercises. Participating in twice-weekly programs for aerobic, balance, flexibility and resistance/strength training can increase your ability to walk and allow you to continue exercising more over the long term.
You can also lessen your risk of falling by practicing balance-training exercises throughout the day. One example is to place your hand on the kitchen counter and balance on one foot and then the other, then if you feel comfortable, remove your hand and try again. Another at-home exercise is to stand behind a sturdy chair and grip it for balance while lifting one leg directly behind you without bending your knee or pointing your toes, then switch to the other leg. You can also do side leg raises in much the same way but extend your leg to the side keeping your back straight, and your toes pointing forward.
MorningStar of Sparks represents the finest in Reno assisted living, independent living and memory care with our unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Built on a foundation of honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve, we provide a true home for our residents. Please contact us to schedule a visit to experience firsthand our exceptional community.