Balance and Strength May Reduce Fall Risk for Seniors
Maintaining balance and strength is increasingly vital to the overall well-being of aging adults, particularly for those with mobility concerns. Falls can have severe consequences for seniors, leading to debilitating injuries, loss of independence, and a decline in overall quality of life.
One in four older adults experiences a fall each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can assist your senior loved one in reducing their risk of experiencing severe injuries by helping to improve their balance and strength.
What Causes Balance Problems?
Mobility concerns become increasingly prevalent in aging adults due to various factors, including physiological changes, chronic health conditions, and reduced physical activity. These issues can significantly impact their balance, strength, and daily lives, affecting their independence, safety, and overall well-being.
In addition to normal aging, balance problems can be caused by:
- Medication side effects
- Inner ear problems
- Medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, etc.)
How Can Seniors Improve Balance and Strength?
Recognizing and addressing mobility concerns is crucial in empowering older adults to maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle while minimizing the risks associated with falls and functional limitations. By working with your loved one’s doctor, you can develop a plan to address their balance and mobility concerns, which may include:
- Physical therapy
Physical therapists are experts who understand how reflexes, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing all work together to help people move. A physical therapist can assess your loved one’s condition and recommend balance exercises for seniors to address areas of concern and help them get around confidently.
- Occupational therapy
Occupational therapists can teach strategies to reduce fall risks, such as getting up from a chair properly or using a cane or walker. Occupational therapists can also work with family members to teach them how to assist a loved one with mobility concerns.
- Yoga and tai-chi
Yoga and tai chi for seniors are exercises that can help improve strength and balance in older people. These forms of exercise are gentle and can be safely modified to be done while seated.
How Can Seniors With Balance Problems Stay Safe?
Improving balance through exercise can help your senior remain independent for as long as possible. However, if your older adult is experiencing challenges with balance and wants to age in their own home, one-on-one assistance from a qualified personal care provider can reduce the risk of a fall — especially when navigating the bathroom, stairs, or outdoor spaces.
A Visiting Angels’ caregiver can be by your loved one’s side to assist them when getting out of bed or a chair, walking around the home, bathing, or going outdoors. Through its Safe and Steady® Fall Prevention Program, Visiting Angels will keep your loved one as safe as possible by promoting habits and easy home modifications to reduce your loved one's risk of falling at home.
Contact your local Visiting Angels home care office and learn how the Safe and Steady® Fall Prevention program can help reduce your aging loved one’s risk of experiencing a life-altering fall and keep them safe and comfortable at home.