Numerous clinical studies show that regular exercise not only helps seniors improve their current physical and emotional health but significantly reduces their risk for developing dementia, cardiovascular disease and cancer down the line. Many seniors don’t realize, however, how critical physical activity is to reducing their risk of falls, which pose a significant threat to an older adult’s health and independence. Fortunately, there have never been more opportunities to reduce falling risks than there are today.
A Clear Need for Fall Prevention
As a premier provider of home care in Palm Beach, FL, we believe it is important that all senior adults, as well as their families and caregivers understand the risk that falls pose. Falls are the leading cause of injury and disability among older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of every 3 adults over the age of 65 falls each year, resulting in injuries that range from minor bumps and bruises to hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and even death. Even seniors who don’t experience a major injury can develop a fear of falling that causes them to limit their physical activities. Curtailing exercise, however, results in reduced mobility that only increases their risks for falling.
Building Strength and Balance
Exercises that enhance an older adult’s strength and balance are essential for reducing the chance of falls. Although aerobic exercises are necessary for cardiovascular health, recent research indicates that exercises like walking are not as effective in regards to fall prevention. So what activities can a senior enjoy to reduce their risk for falls? Tai Chi and yoga classes are popular options for improving strength and balance and are growing in popularity among seniors and older adults. They can be modified to suit any level of ability or skill and an additional benefit of these programs is they offer cognitive stimulation, promoting a healthy mind, body and spirit. We also encourage seniors to check out their local community center. Many offer fitness programs catered to seniors, and these instructional classes are a great way to interact and spend times with peers.
Tips for Children of Aging Parents
Are you concerned about an aging parent or loved one that lives at home independently? Perhaps they’ve recently suffered a fall in the house or under your care. Adult children can encourage their aging parents to look for opportunities to test their balance throughout the day. For seniors with physical limitations, even simple moves such as attempting to stand on one leg while holding on to a sturdy chair can help improve balance. Exercises that improve leg strength, such as leg lifts, are particularly helpful in counteracting the fear of falling. As your parent’s strength and balance improves, he or she will enjoy an increased sense of confidence as well as better physical health.
One great option to ensure the safety of seniors at home is a part-time caregiver. With part-time care, seniors are able to schedule care on an as needed basis for the select activities they find difficult to complete. As care needs increase or decreases, their care plan is able to do the same. Read more about hourly care in Palm Beach or contact a Care Manager directly to learn more about our services and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.