Falls are a major concern for seniors, and the older you get, the greater the risk of falling and the worse the consequences can be. Falls are common among seniors for a number of reasons. Poor eyesight, medications, muscle loss, sedentary lifestyles, and loss of balance increase the risk of falling. It's important to keep your home a trip-free zone and to use assistive devices when you walk if you need them. Fall prevention therapy for seniors can also help. Here's how.
1. Strengthen Muscles Through Exercise
Strong muscles are needed to support your body and to help you change positions without falling. If you often fall back into the chair when you're getting up, a physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen your leg and core muscles so you can get in and out of a chair more easily. You may need to exercise under supervision to learn proper technique, but it's also a good idea to exercise on your own at home to maintain your muscle mass as you age.
2. Teach Stretching To Maintain Flexibility
When you're stiff, your body can't react quickly enough to maintain your balance. If you have issues with stiffness, stretching exercises might help. You may also need to work with your doctor to help control pain and inflammation so you have full range of motion to walk and move properly.
3. Train For Better Balance
Balance training is another part of fall prevention therapy for seniors. Medications, medical conditions, and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to balance issues. If you have trouble with your balance, you're at a higher risk of falling. You may need help from your doctor to work out problems with medications and conditions like inner ear problems, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease that can make you dizzy.
A physical therapist can teach you balance exercises. Exercises may start out simple and gradually get more difficult as your balance improves. Things like standing on one foot with your eyes closed are easy exercises you might even do at home as long as you are near a table or counter you can hold on to for support.
4. Help With Lifestyle Changes
A physical therapist can teach you about changing your home and habits to reduce your risk of falling. They may explain the type of shoes you should wear for better support and balance, things to avoid like smoking and drinking that could make you dizzy, and how to use devices like a walker or cane around your house. They may also encourage you to get rid of trip hazards such as area rugs, limit climbing on stools and ladders, and organize your kitchen so everything is within easy reach.