The fear of falling is common in older adults – and for good reason.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of four adults aged 65 and older fall each year. Below are some statistics to be mindful of:
- One in five falls results in a serious injury, including broken bones or head injuries.
- 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments each year for falls.
- Over 800,000 people are hospitalized for fall-related injuries, including hip fractures and head injuries.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Conditions That Contribute to Increased Risks of Falling
According to the CDC, there are some factors that can increase your risk of falling, including:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Use of certain medications that affect balance
- Vision problems
- Foot pain
- Tripping hazards in your home, such as broken steps or throw rugs
The good news is, there are ways to mitigate these risks. Physical exercises that focus on strengthening your body and improving your walking and balance can go a long way in preventing falls.
Eskaton is passionate about keeping residents safe and offers webinars about effective fall prevention. Utilizing these resources and the recommended exercises below will help equip you against falls.
Exercises to Prevent Falls
If you’d like to lower your risk of falling while improving your overall health, consider these exercises:
- Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the ground. Be sure to position yourself in front of a support surface that you can hold onto in case you begin feeling unsteady.
- Shift your weight forward and slowly rise to a standing position.
- Slowly sit back down and repeat 10 times.
- Repeat twice a day.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your stomach muscles and lift your hips 3-5 inches from the floor.
- Hold for 5-10 seconds and then slowly lower your hips to the floor.
Mini squat using a chair:
- Hold onto the back of the chair or counter with feet shoulder width apart.
- Slowly bend your knees and squat down a few inches, keeping knees directly over your feet.
- Hold for 5-10 seconds and return to starting position.
- Stand on your left foot and lift your right knee up. Return to starting position.
- Stand on your right foot and lift your left knee up. Return to starting position.
- Alternate legs as if you’re marching.
Heel and toe raises:
- Rise up on your toes and return back down.
- Shift your weight to your heels and lift your toes up off the floor.
Source: Kaiser Permanente
Help steady your balance with these exercises.
The series of exercises below may require building up to. Start at the letter “a” and work down to “d” once you get comfortable completing each grouping.a. Feet apart: Use a kitchen counter or a surface corner for support.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold steady for 10 seconds.
- Work toward maintaining balance with minimal swaying or support for 30 seconds. When accomplished, move on to the next exercise.
- Stand with your feet together and hold steady for 10 seconds.
- Work toward maintaining your balance with minimal swaying or support for 30 seconds. When accomplished, move on to the next exercise.
- Stand on one foot and hold steady for 10 seconds.
- Work toward maintaining your balance with minimal swaying or support for 30 seconds. When accomplished, switch to the other foot.
- When you can perform the above exercises with little to no support, try to perform each one with your eyes closed for 10 seconds.
- Work toward maintaining your balance with minimal swaying or support for 30 seconds.
Below are some standalone exercises you can incorporate into your balance-building routine.
Body circle sway:
- Stand in the corner with feet shoulder width apart.
- Move only from your ankles. Shift your weight side-to-side 5 times.
- Shift your weight forward and back 5 times.
- Combine movements and shift your weight in a clockwise circle and then counter-clockwise.
- Step sideways with one leg and bring your other foot to it.
- Repeat 5 steps in the same direction.
- Repeat 5 steps in the opposite direction.
- Stand at the end of a hallway or long counter.
- Walk forward by placing one foot directly in front of the other as if you’re walking a tightrope. Attempt to walk in as straight of a line as possible.
Regularly performing these exercises can vastly improve your strength and balance and prevent you from taking a tumble in the future.
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
Life at Eskaton Communities
We believe in the magic and purpose within each of our residents and see each day as an opportunity to enhance their lives. In fact, Eskaton is defined as “the dawning of a new day.” We’ve been proudly serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years and look forward to many more.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents with everything they need for purposeful and passionate living.
We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to witness the magic yourself and learn about some of the amenities we offer, including:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download some helpful complimentary information, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living. To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.