Updated: May 14
Author: Suzanne Andrews.
Learn what vitamin helps you with your #balance. What type of footwear is the best to wear to decrease your #fall risk and what is the worst type of footwear. What medicines increase your risk of a fall. Why having this urinary disorder puts you at higher risk of falls and many more surprising facts to help you age in place and stay independent.
Every 11 seconds, someone falls and has to undergo emergent care. By the time you finish reading this 3-minute article, 17 people will be in the emergency room suffering from an injury due to a fall.
I'm writing this article after hearing about a friend's loved one who died from a hip fracture after a fall because I want to make sure this does not happen to you!
This critical information can help save you or a loved one from an injury that puts you in a nursing home or stop you from experiencing an even more severe consequence of falls – a fractured hip, which can lead to infection and death. One in three adults aged 50 and over dies within 12 months of suffering a hip fracture. Adults 60 and over have a five-to-eight times higher risk of dying within the first three months of a hip fracture compared to those without a hip fracture. This increased risk of death remains for almost ten years! Falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
When I worked in home health, instructing patients how to regain function after a devastating injury from a fall safely, many of my patients would say, "it was just an accident. It won't happen again." However, studies show that if you have fallen once, you have twice the chance of falling again.
Why do people think it will never happen to them with so many people falling? People who experienced a fall usually believe it was just an accident and won't happen again.
However, evidence suggests that if you are over the age of 60, you have a 1 out of 5 chance it WILL happen to you if you have any of the following:
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D helps get calcium into your body. As explained in Stronger Bones and Better Balance DVD, Calcium is necessary for muscle contraction. Vitamin D also helps repair and build muscle.
What level of Vitamin D is appropriate to take? Studies suggest that taking 700 to 1000 IU of vitamin reduces the risk of falls by 20%.
Urinary Incontinence (frequent urination or leaks): According to the CDC, 234,000 falls per year are caused by rushing to the bathroom. So sad and preventable! I've treated many patients with fractures from slipping on urine or falling from rushing to get to the toilet. Some tragically passed away after contracting an infection in their hip. A major reason I developed 30 Day Bladder Fix was to help patients needlessly suffering from falls. A plus was I also cured myself!
Medicines: sedatives, tranquilizers, and antidepressants.
Improper footwear: (remember this: slippers are slippery, and flip flops can make you flop!) Closed-toe footwear is the best type of footwear to decrease a fall.
Throw Rugs or Clutter: (People trip over these too often). Make sure to have plenty of space to keep pathways clear.
Dizziness: can be caused by inner ear disorders, high blood pressure, heart conditions, or medications. (See your doctor if you have dizziness).
Poor Neck Mobility
If your neck range of motion is limited, you will be tempted to put your head down while walking to see where you're going. Unfortunately, this places your posture in poor alignment. When you slouch and put your head down, you're closer to the ground, and your gravity is no longer centered. That puts you at heightened risk for a fall. Therapeutic neck exercises can give you back mobility and fight age-related muscle shortening. With good neck mobility, you will be able to walk with your eyes looking directly ahead, your spine lifted, and your risk of fall decreased. Another reason to stand up straight and keep your neck upright is that placing your head down throws off your equilibrium which affects your balance.
Weak or Inflexible Legs: If your legs are weak, they will tire quickly, putting you at higher risk for a fall. If you have a poor range of motion in your legs, you will not walk safely. Weak legs greatly increases your chances of ending up in a nursing home.
Weak Abdominals: Abdominals muscles are often overlooked when working on balance. Strong abdominals can stop you from falling over if you accidentally trip on something. Stong abdominals also help you get up from bed, in and out of a car, and up and down from the toilet.
Weak Back: (Essential for balance and as they work synergistically with your abdominals)!
Your abdominals and back play a substantial role in your postural control, vital for fall prevention. Remember to "stand tall, so you don't fall."
Weak Ankles: If you step on something protruding like a squirrel nut on the ground, you can fall if your ankles are weak.
How Do You Improve Your #Balance if You Can't Exercise Standing Up?
Start with exercises on a chair, and once you feel those exercises are getting easier, progress to standing up, making sure to have a stable area to hold onto, such as a sturdy chair or a wall.
Check out this chair pose #exercise for better balance and overall strength, demonstrated by a lovely lady who takes my class at Bishops Glen Retirement Community.
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Today’s Geriatric Medicine
Vitamin D Study: Medicine® Journal
Suzanne Andrews Functional Fitness, PBS TV
Plus, the many wonderful doctors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists I’ve worked with over the years who were kind enough to share information with me.