Every year, millions of people aged 65+ fall. In fact, 1 out of 4 older people falls each year. And, if someone falls one time, the chance that they’ll fall again doubles.
Falls can happen at any time. Even simple movements like reaching for an object can trigger a fall.
That’s why fall prevention exercises for seniors are so important. They reduce fall risk by improving balance and strength.
The simple act of reaching for something could cause seniors to fall
Bob and Brad are physical therapists who make easy-to-follow videos showing how to do physical therapy type exercises at home.
In this video, they describe why the simple act of reaching for something often causes falls in older adults.
Then, they demonstrate simple exercises that improve balance and coordination while reaching.
This reduces the risk that your older adult could fall while trying to get something.
Here is the link to the video -
Exercise 1(1 min 43 sec in video) Place a tissue box and a TV remote control on a high table or counter top. Any similarly sized objects will work – one larger and one smaller.
Your older adult should stand far enough away so that they will have to lean forward and reach to pick up an object.
Ask them to lean forward to pick up the larger object with one arm and bring it toward them while standing up straight again. Then, lean forward and put the object back onto the counter.
If that’s easy, move up to the smaller object, which will be more difficult.
Exercise 2 (4 min in video) Have your older adult stand between two counter tops or two high tables. Standing where the counter forms an L shape might work or find a stretch of clear counter top to move across.
Put the tissue box and remote control on one side.
Ask your senior to use one arm to pick up the larger object and move it across their body to the other side. Then, pick it up again and move it back to the starting point.
How many repetitions? Which side? They don’t say how many repetitions to do, so it might be good to start with just a few and see how your older adult responds.
If they’re very tired, you’ve probably reached their limit and can increase slowly over time.
If they find the exercise very easy, either increase the distance from the counter top and/or increase the number of repetitions.
Prevent falls during exercise
Safety first! The most important thing is that your older adult doesn’t fall or hurt themselves while exercising.
For safety, you could use a gait belt and stand next to your older adult while they do these exercises.
That way you can provide instant stability in case they get off balance.
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