How do you prevent falling as you get older? Just move
Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in those aged 65 and older. However, according to research findings recently published in Injury Epidemiology, patients in this age group who have suffered a fall-related injury are not likely to take part in a falls prevention program.
Researchers interviewed 87 participants, 65 years and older, who had been to the hospital 60 days prior for a fall related injury.
They found that:
71% spoke to a health care provider about the fall (how/why it happened)
46% talked to a family member about ways to prevent falling again
37% spoke to their health care provider about reducing risk for falls
22% spoke to their health care provider about medications that could help prevent future falls
2% tried to reach out to a falls prevention program
0% attended a falls prevention program, such as tai chi or a balance class.
14% of the participants reported another fall.
While speaking to a health care professional or family member is a good first step, preventing falls comes with taking action. Basic daily exercises such as walking sideways and bending the knees reduced the risk of falling by 31% in older participants, according to findings published in the British Medical Journal. Despite the proven fact that improving balance and strength prevent falling, less than 10% of older people participate in a strength training program, and that percentage is lower for those who participate in regular balance-improving routines.
Physical activity is your medication for fall prevention. Your daily exercise routine doesn't have to be difficult, complex movements in a gym. Rather, your routine can consist of a daily walk in your neighborhood, doing a couple step-ups on your stairs, or extending your legs several times while sitting on the couch watching TV. Simple daily exercises have the ability to not only help you stay on your feet, but you'll begin to feel stronger, more energetic, and motivated during your daily activities.
Narayan Shakar K, et al. Inj Epidemiol. 2017;doi:10.1186/s40621-017-0114-y August 25, 2017. “Older Patients Do Not Participate in Fall Prevention Activities.” Healio, Aug. 2017,