Home | Opinion | Falls need not be a part of getting older

Falls need not be a part of getting older

There is a commonly held belief that falling is just something we have to accept as part of getting older. This is a myth. I routinely see people who have had regular falls, make some simple changes and break the cycle.

It is easy to think of many obvious causes for falling, including running into a pet or tripping on a footpath, but the most sinister cause is the loss of confidence after having the first fall.

Unfortunately, many active and independent people stop the activities that once made them so independent for fear they will fall again and this only increases the risk of having another fall.

Some medicines may have side effects such as making people feel dizzy or drowsy, which of course also can increase the risk of having a fall. If people experience these side effects it is important that they discuss them with their doctor, as there may be an alternative medication that will work better for them.

When it comes to staying on one’s feet, the best thing to do is some daily practice of strength and balance tasks that are challenging in a safe way.

Fancy equipment isn’t necessary and as little as 10 minutes each day will make a difference.

Three easy exercises to help improve balance

  •  Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, practice standing on one leg whilst taking up as much support on the bench with the hands as necessary.
  •  Whenever standing up from a chair sit back down and stand up for a second time to build strength in the legs.
  •  When going past the kitchen bench or a dining table walk slowly, heel to toe, whilst taking up as much support with the hands as necessary.

Here are five key steps to reducing falls

  •  keeping active in as many ways as possible
  •  including activities every day that specifically challenge strength and balance
  •  eating healthy food in a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water to help maintain good health   and strong bones and muscles
  • regular check-ups of medications, eyesight and feet.
  • seek help. anyone who doesn’t know where to start should ask a doctor or health professional who can point them in the right direction.

Ben Happ is a physiotherapist at Feros Care

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