Falling is the leading cause of fatal injury and common nonfatal trauma hospitalizations. Poor balance and gait is a major reason why falls occur. If you fear falling you’re more likely to limit the amount of physical activity you do each day. Your muscles and bones are living tissues that get stronger when you increase your physical activity. Exercising promotes muscle strength, hand-eye coordination, and balance, which play a key role in preventing falls. Studies show that seniors are more likely to fear falling, however, there are many ways to manage and prevent it. Here are a few ways to minimize the fear of falling.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “28.7% of older adults reported falling; the estimated 29.0 million falls resulted in 7.0 million injuries.” The loss of strength and stamina due to aging is partly caused by an absence of or reduced physical activity. The primary reason why older adults become hospitalized is because of falls due to lower body extremity weakness. The gluteus maximus, soleus, and the uterus are just some of the strongest muscles in the human body. Therefore, by performing just a few simple exercises can help you keep a strong and stable lower body. Here are a few that you can do in the comfort of your own home:
- Alternating Lunges
- Single Leg Stands
- Chair Leg Raises
Utilizing medicines like sedatives and antidepressants can cause dizziness and even affect your balance. This is why it is extremely important to identify medications that might be increasing fall risk. Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist to reduce or at least reconsider these medications to prevent the likelihood of falling due to the side effects.
Increase Calcium Intake
The National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that “There is increasing evidence that a supplementation of vitamin D and/or of calcium may reduce the fall and fracture rates.“ Making sure you get enough calcium in your diet is one of many ways to keep your bones strong and dense. With adequate exercise and calcium in your diet, you can prevent the ubiquity of fractured bones from falls. The NCBI also mentioned that “severe forms of vitamin D insufficiency cause severe muscle weakness, usually proximal and involving the lower limbs“ Therefore, a balanced and versatile diet with ingredients rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein, is necessary to ensure superior bone health.
Fall prevention can be as simple as creating a safe living environment. According to EverydayHealth, 30% – 40% of older adults fall at least once a year. Although falls can occur anywhere, most recorded falls take place in the home. Cleaning up clutter, removing small furniture, pet gear and electrical cords are some ways to prevent and minimize the fear of falling at home. One of the easiest ways to do this is to maintain a clean and clear home.
Our Executive Director, Eileen Parenti, explains that “All of our clients are assigned skilled home health aides who assist with their everyday needs. We provide both our aides and clients Fall Prevention tips to educate them on how to reduce the risks and fear of falling. We reinforce the need to prevent falls due to the effects fall can have on a senior’s overall health.”
At Renaissance Home Health Care, our Signature Touches program is designed to adhere to the unique needs of each and every individual. By providing fall management seminars that are focused on educating our clients and staff on various safety procedures and precautions, we are able to help minimize the risk and fear of falls.