According to analysis, it’s not enough to be a fit elderly person to avoid falls. You can read more about the study on Science 2.0.
The analysis looked at how many hours older people exercised and how well they could balance in four tests. This proves that it is not just about being physically fit, but it’s more specifically important to have a good balance.
The risk of falling
The test by Annelise Dyrli, set out to study how fit elderly people can reduce their risk of suffering from falls.
Every year around 30 percent of all people aged 65 and older experience a fall. In the same age group, falls account for 40 percent of all injury-related deaths worldwide. – Annelise Dyril
There were four balance exercises and also the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), which is widely used for full balance tests. It’s typically used after someone has suffered a fall. The Berg Balance Scale can also be used to predict someone’s future risk of falling.
Although the group were considered to be fit elderly people, Dyrli found no relationship between how many hours the participants exercised and how they did on the balance test. Though those who exercised did very well on the BBS test. It seems the type of exercise you do is what matters; not the amount you do.
It doesn’t help if you’re fit enough to climb up mountains if you are unable to stand on one leg when you’re putting on your socks.
There are certain exercises that the elderly can do to try and improve their balance. The NHS website gives the following examples of balance exercise routines:
- Sideways Walking – Start with your feet together and your knees slightly bent. Step sideways in a slow and controlled manner before moving one foot to the side. You then need to move the other foot to join the first foot. Perform 10 steps each way.
- Simple Grapevine – This involves walking sideways by crossing one foot over the other. Begin by crossing your right foot over your left, and then bring you left foot to join it. The NHS state that you should attempt five cross steps on each side.
- Heel-to-Toe Walk – Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe. Do the same with your left heel and ensure that you keep looking forwards throughout the exercise. Once again, try and attempt five steps.
- One Leg Stand – Facing a wall, stretch your arms out in front of you and touch the wall with your fingertips. Begin by lifting your left leg up, keeping your hips level and a slight bend in the other leg. Hold this position for 10 seconds and perform this move three times on each leg.
- Step Up – This routine should be done using a step, with a railing or wall close by. Step up with your right leg and bring your left leg up to join it, before stepping down again and returning to the start position. You should step up and down slowly, in a controlled manner, to help build up your balance.
Images to help you with these exercises can be found on the NHS website.
Telecare for fit elderly people
You may associate very frail elderly people with having falls, but actually many more people who are fairly fit, elderly individuals may be at risk. It can be wise to order a Telecare incase of a fall, rather than after a fall has happened and the damage has been done already.
With a Telecare Alarm installed, residents simply need to push the pendant which will be around their neck or wrist if they have a fall. Our monitoring team will respond and the correct form of action will be taken.
This will include calling for the alarm user’s emergency contacts, typically chosen to be neighbours, family members and close friends. The emergency services will also be contacted should they be required.
The Telecare system works all day, everyday as our monitoring team work 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure your safety.
You can call us on 0800 635 7000 to order a Telecare Alarm or to ask any questions about the service. You can also order online if you would prefer.
Please note that this article was originally published on January 2, 2016 and updated on June 19, 2017