There has been a significant increase in falls from 1998 to 2010, particularly in the case of senior citizens. Among individuals 65 and older, the percentage who had experienced at least one fall in the 2 year prior rose from 28.2% to 36.3% – an increase of nearly 30%. Now this is concerning, as the baby boomers are reaching this age or have already entered it. The largest generation is looking to others to help keep them safe. They found that the youngest people in the study, the group closest to age 65, had the steepest increase of falling.
How can we help safeguard seniors against falls?
Build from the ground up
Grounding, a popular technique in meditation and mindfulness practices, focuses on the feet first and works upwards through the body. The association of the feet planted on the floor allows individuals to understand balance, and what feels stable or not. Starting by having the individual focus on their feet in standing positions allows them to practice this mindfulness technique by reconnecting with their base. Giving the individual weight shifting exercises can help them understand their balance better, and stability.
Work with them in their environment
The body is highly adaptable, and performs best when it has become equated to the environment and the challenges it is required to face. Taking a senior citizen out of their usual routine can be counterproductive. They must practice going up and down stairs, walking from point A to point B with a cup of water, and other normal everyday activities. They should be able to feel competent and safe in the environment they live.
Practice makes perfect
In a controlled environment, it is best to push the limits. Avoiding falling is priority number one, but being prepared for a fall is the overall goal. Remember, the body adapts to the demands placed on it. Simulating the steps of a fall, such as testing center of gravity, standing on one foot, walking with eyes closed, all in a controlled and safe environment can prepare seniors for how to handle a real fall.
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