What’s the big deal about falling? Everyone falls from time to time, right? But how many people do you know who’ve fallen, had to move into care, and even died as a result? Every 13 seconds an adult over 65 is admitted to the ER after injuring themselves in a fall.
The costs of a bad fall are not just in medical expenses. It’s the loss of independence, which often leads to isolation and depression, that worries many older adults. As a result, some become cautious and give up doing what they love, hoping to stay safe.
Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect.
The single most important way of preventing a fall is to keep active.
A key difference between a stumble and full-on fall is how fast your brain and muscles can react to catch you. That only comes with continued use, and even, with specialised balance training.
Those who take up an exercise class and stick with it report a host of additional benefits: making friends, feeling more energetic and interested in life, happiness at still being able to line dance, or travel at age 89 and beyond.
There are many resources out there to help manage all kinds of balance problems. Your doctor and pharmacist are a good place to start to check your medications. Physical therapy and Tai Chi are especially well documented for improving balance.
We’re living longer, let’s make sure we enjoy those extra years.
There is more information from the Center for Disease Control on the cost of falls, and some sensible steps everyone can take to avoid them.
September 22 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day, the 10th anniversary of the initiative set up by the National Council on Aging. #FPAD18
Title image courtesy of National Senior Games Association