Balance Training for Elderly May Prevent Falls

Ball Training for Seniors

Balance is “essential for all human movement and movement is necessary for all activities of daily living,” according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

A combination of flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance are required for supporting even light physical activity in seniors. Unfortunately, due to many aging factors, seniors decreased balance skills leaves them highly vulnerable to fall-related injuries.

“Every 19 minutes in the U.S., an older adult dies from a fall, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

While most of us take balance for granted, for millions of seniors, poor balance is too often a lethal problem. Many of our elderly struggle with dizziness or imbalance, while others are injured in balance-related falls.

Most studies now conclude that exercise can not only reduce the odds of falling but also increase the likelihood of surviving fall-related injuries.

French researchers analyzed the results of 17 trials that tested the effect of fall-prevention exercises on seniors’ risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Overall, exercise programs reduced falls that caused injuries by 37%, falls leading to serious injuries by 43%, and broken bones by 61%. As reported online in the BMJ.

How Balance Training Exercises Improve Overall Health

While the primary goal is to improve or maintain balance and coordination as we age, there are many ancillary benefits to committing to a light “balance training regimen”. Even light exercise performed regularly can improve circulation, endurance, coordination, flexibility, increase bone and muscle density, improve mental acuity, reduce BP and HR. Beyond better balance, the other benefits of multi-component exercise programs are numerous.

According to a recent article in Age and Ageing Review, at least 1 in 3 seniors age 60 and up suffer from severe muscle loss or Sarcopenia. Sarcopenia (severe muscle loss) affects some of the larger muscles of the legs, hips, low back and abdominal core, all of which are critical for maintaining mobility and balance. Since the muscles act as a shock absorber or protection for the bones, any fall for someone with reduced muscle mass, will most likely result with broken bones and increase the severity of the injury.

In addition to improving balance and coordination, here is a bullet point list of benefits from a Balance Exercise Routine:

  • Faster Reflexes and reduced reaction time.
  • Increased Muscle density: Stronger, larger muscles reduce the impact of falls and improve your overall quality of life.
  • Improved brain circulation: Regular exercise improves brain activity as we age.
  • Stronger Bones: Resistance exercises increase bone density, and stronger bones are more resistant to injuries and fractures.
  • Better coordination: This helps prevent falls from occurring in the first place

Best Exercise Routines to Prevent Falls in Seniors

The good news is you are never “too old” to exercise. If you can walk or stand, (even if you need a walker), then exercise may still be an option for you.

Nowadays, in most areas, there are a great variety of classes focused on improving balance. You can find them at Senior Centers, Jewish Community Centers, Health Clubs, Yoga and Pilates Studios. Also, there are many routines you can do at home, guided by virtual online classes through your cable or internet on-demand provider.

It would not be responsible to try to educate someone how to exercise without also providing personal guidance on how to properly execute Balance Exercises or Routines in this post. So much depends on an individuals state of health, strength, age, level of comprehension, athleticism, etc.

I highly recommend that anyone, regardless of age, beginning any new exercise regimen, start with a professionally supervised program until they are confident and competent in their ability to properly execute the exercises on their own, safely and with proper form. To that end, there are also many great online/on-demand programs available now, with very sophisticated means of monitoring and correcting your posture during exercises, even in the privacy of your own home.

More on How to get started with your Balance Training in our next blog.

Senior Falls – Reducing the Risk

Seniors Falls - Reducing Risk

Falls are the number one cause of accidental death and serious injury among older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one-fourth of seniors aged 65 and over suffer at least one or more falls each year, resulting in nearly three million emergency room admissions. Clearly, falling represents a very real threat to our seniors. Steps should be taken to reduce this common risk to protect yourself or your loved one.

Most seniors want to retain their independence as much as possible by living at home. Their memories and joys are found there where everything is comfortable and their personal effects at close at hand. Although happiness is found living at home, there are also risks associated with it whether you are elderly or disabled.

Home Technology Helps Protect Independent Seniors

I Am Thankful for My Medical Alert Device

New Home technology now provides home monitoring systems with wireless (wifi and cellular) sensors, along with small, lightweight, wearable devices able to detect a person’s location, any falls, and simultaneously notify family and emergency services in the event of an accident. Response time after a fall or accident is critical to make sure expert medical help arrives and loved ones are notified immediately. These new systems provide a great safety net for seniors wishing to remain independent, along with the peace of mind for family and loved ones.

Why You Should Buy a Medical Alert System

Falling is the greatest concern for the elderly when considering purchasing a Medical Alert Device. If you or a loved one live alone and is injured falling down the stairway or falls and can’t get up, what will you do? The best way to get help is with a Medical Alert System. Consider these fall statistics from the National Council on Aging:

  • One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
  • In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
  • The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

The National Council on Aging also tells us that falls for older Americans or the disabled impact their quality of life. Whether they just fear falling or have experienced falling, their social life and other activities become limited. This can lead to a decrease in physical and mental health, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation. Review the features and benefits of the EZ CARE PLUS MEDICAL ALERT SYSTEM and you will agree it is a lifesaver for older adults.

“These new systems provide a great safety net for seniors wishing to remain independent.”

Home Check List to Reduce Falls

Many risk factors can easily be addressed without the need for experts. Reducing home clutter, clearing walkways, improving low light conditions, reducing the need for stairs, and adding handrails where needed. You can also add a seating device to ride up and down stairways. Consider these additional ways to prevent falling at home.

Low light conditions are a significant risk to older citizens due to retinal neurodegeneration and other processes that begin to negatively affect our eyesight as we age. Because our eyes receive less light as we get older, they may take longer to adjust in low or changing light conditions. This delay in adapting to low light leaves many seniors virtually blind and vulnerable to tripping or bumping into items and falling.

Smart Lighting – Easy Solutions

Improved Lighting Can Help

There are many modern smart lighting options available to help prevent lighting-related incidents. Modern smart lighting provides many options for improving home lighting for seniors. Convenient, centralized lighting controls can manage the entire home.

Motion sensors the lighting that can be managed with a predetermined schedule. Home automation even allows seniors to control their lighting by voice command, eliminating the need to move in the dark and fumble for light switches. Consult a lighting or home design expert for the best results.

Importance of Preparation

Anytime a senior falls, getting help for them as quickly as possible should be the utmost priority. Regardless of an injury occurring during the fall, approximately 50% of seniors are unable to get to their feet again. Any number of health complications can arise from lying immobile on a hard floor for even 30 minutes, including diabetic emergencies, hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration, pneumonia, pain, nausea, vomiting, etc.

This is where new Medical Alert Systems are invaluable. New small, lightweight, waterproof, wearable mobile wrist panic buttons or pendants are now able to detect falls, and providing the means to immediately communicate with Emergency Services and Loved ones 24/7, even if the senior is incapacitated as a result of the fall.

For many seniors and their families, the choice of whether to age in place or seek assisted living is an agonizing decision. Most seniors prefer to stay at home for as long as they are able, but the risk of falling makes it a frightening and potentially dangerous prospect. Home automation and other smart technologies, however, promise to empower seniors to live safer, more independent lives and provide some peace of mind to their loved ones.

For seniors choosing to live independently, and since caregivers and loved ones are not present 24/7, these new medical alert and home security systems allow you to keep a close eye on your loved one no matter where you are. Providing peace of mind and independence for seniors, family and loved ones is a priceless benefit available through Medical Alert System providers for very low monthly rates.

Guardian Life Watch is the premier Medical Alert Devices Distributor in North America. We revolutionized the industry by offering the finest fully mobile medical alert devices available. We are also one of the first devices approved by the FCC to be worn on the body. We want to help you live a normal and happy life.

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