More than one in three people aged 65 and over fall at least once a year and many even more regularly, and the risk only increases the older we get. Many of these falls can be prevented by staying active and working to increase our strength and mobility.
Why do falls occur?
Falls can be caused be a number of factors, including issues with medications, mental status, vision problems, continence issues, a history of falls and the overall state of an individual’s strength, balance and mobility.
How can I reduce the risk of falling?
Staying physically active is one of the most important things we can do to remain fit and independent. If you are moving less, you lose muscle strength and balance, which can lead to a fall. The more active we remain, the better the chance we have of keeping our muscles strong and our joints mobile. This applies to people at any age – it’s never too late to start!
What are the best ways to stay active in my later years?
Exercise can be done in many ways and you should choose something that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle. This may be walking around your village every day, participating in a group exercise session such as aqua aerobics or yoga, dancing, doing strength and balance exercises at home or going to the gym.
If you are in any doubt about exercising or have problems with pain or stiffness which limit your mobility, you can ask your physiotherapist to design a suitable exercise programme tailored to your needs.
A physiotherapist can provide falls risk and balance assessments and individualised exercise programmes to help improve your strength, balance and mobility to reduce your risk of falls. They can also help you with exercising at home, in the gym or in the pool and can offer either individual or small group sessions.
Tricia Stolp is a trained physiotherapist who visits Forresters Beach and Glengara weekly to help residents improve their strength and balance. Visit http://www.physioathome.com.au/ or call Tricia on 0490 014 413 for more information.