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Senior Advice: Developing Better Balance

We’ve covered the risks of seniors falling and even how best to prevent risk factors through preventative measures throughout one’s house (i.e., use of grab rails, removing scatter rugs that are not attached to the floor, etc.), yet we have not dedicated proper focus on the measures an individual can take to improve their balance. Yes, it is true that balance issues can be overturned, at least to some degree.

Elder Gym, an online senior resource, has listed the following guidelines and safety measures to help older adults improve their balance and prevent falls. 

As we all know, aging can naturally lead to a loss of functionality in certain body areas (nothing last forever). Some of those areas could include:

  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of muscle strength in legs
  • Poor posture
  • Drug interactions
  • Low blood pressure

When we age, many factors come into play that lead to (or add to) our increased loss of balance. For example, we all know it becomes more difficult to run as far or as fast at 60 years old as we did when we were 20 years old. We lose certain abilities with age – we can forestall those losses to some degree, but our aging bodies will eventually change. The idea is to reduce the rate of loss of these functions connected to falls through judicious and calculated exercises focused on the retaining one’s balance.

Just as you must exercise your brain to keep it sharp, you must exercise your body to keep it sharp. This notion, of course, is nothing new to all of you. However, Elder Gym provides guidelines and exercises. The exercises will enhance upper body strength, as well as lower body strength. Also noted, one of the keys is to become or remain as active as possible.

A few of the guidelines include:

  • If you are uncomfortable with any of the exercises, have a partner help you
  • Begin slowly until you get used to performing each exercise
  • Become comfortable with the exercise before attempting it
  • Practice two or more of these exercises for 10 minutes each day
  • Stick with it!

Exercises included are:

  • Single limb stance
  • Eye tracking
  • Clock reach
  • Staggered stance
  • Single limb with arm
  • Balance wand
  • Knee marching
  • Body circles
  • Heel to toe
  • Grapevine
  • Stepping
  • Dynamic walking

As always, make sure your senior  loved ones check with their physician first before beginning any exercise program.

If you're interested in more information about how in-home care can help your senior loved ones, contact your nearest Visiting Angels office today or call 800-365-4189.
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