Falls Risks in the Aged Population
Balance is a function used regularly through many tasks on a daily basis; from sitting, to walking, to just standing still; it is an underlying requirement needed to stabilise the body and prevent a fall. Several components encompass what constitutes balance, namely, the input from senses such as hearing and vision, but also the complex function of the vestibular system and how they all interact with the brain.
As we progress in age, there is a functional decline in these senses, reaction time and muscle strength. Additionally, there is a similar decrease in proprioception too. This is the ability to know where our limbs are in space, for example; being able to touch your nose if your eyes are closed. Much like a muscle, balance can reduce in strength with age and without use, so it is imperative to work on it to both strengthen and maintain its function.
Who is at risk?
Whilst the list is not exhaustive, you may be at risk if you've previously had a fall, have vision or hearing difficulties, recently had trauma or surgery to the lower limbs, or if you feel off-balance or dizzy generally. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult your health care practitioner.
What can you do to help?
Practising safe balance and strength training exercises can help to prevent a fall, however as each person is an individual, there is no set 'recipe' as to which tasks to perform. It is always best to consult a qualified Health Practitioner, Physiotherapist or an Exercise Physiologist, who can assess your balance and prescribe specific exercises to help address your specific needs.
If practising exercises by yourself seems tedious, there are a number of group classes our Health Professionals at Moreton All Body Care offer to help reduce falls risk as well.
How long will it take?
Maintaining balance is very much an ongoing effort and can be considered on the principle of 'use it or lose it'. To uphold good balance you must practise it regularly, unfortunately there is no quick fix solution.
Do I need a gym membership?
Not at all. There are numerous amounts of exercises that can be performed right from the comfort of your own home. If you do however have a gym membership and wish to perform your exercises there, our health professionals can prescribe you tasks tailored to that environment too.
All of our practitioners at Moreton All Body Care are qualified with the knowledge to prescribe the correct exercises and tasks to support you in improving your balance, strength and helping to prevent a fall.
If you do have concerns about your risk of falls, or would simply like to work on improving your strength and balance, please give us a call to arrange an appointment on 3886 9470 (Narangba) 3888 6699 (Burpengary).