The National Council of Aging says that one in four Americans over the age of 65 will take a fall each year. I recently read in the local newspaper about the owner of Bills Pizza, a restaurant in Palm Springs, who died as a result of a fall off the roof of his restaurant.
Within our park a fellow fell off his rig and broke his hip a few years ago and he says it has changed his life. Another fellow fell off a ladder. He isn’t able do many activities he used to enjoy. This summer, another fellow was up a ladder and fell and as a result passed away.
Perhaps at a certain age you might want to think about hiring help for activities such as climbing ladders, lifting heavy objects, shovelling snow, cutting grass and twisting your body in ways that you haven’t done for a while. As we age we just don’t heal as quickly as we used to so any damage we do to our bodies may be life changing.
So why all the falls? I know from experience that I am more tippy than I used to be. I do think about climbing anything as my balance isn’t what it used to be. Falls take a toll on us physiologically and often after a big one, we may even limit our social and physical activity for fear of falling again. That is not good.
Keeping moving is important for seniors. We really must think about ways to stay safe and yet move. Lots of people are taking up new sports as they age. This is great as long as they go at it slowly and thoughtfully.
Causes of falls in seniors can be due to vision loss, infections, medication which causes dizziness, dehydration can also cause dizziness, poor lighting, moving quicker than our brain can think and poor flexibility and coordination. What can we do?
In the research it says to look at these four areas when you think of your physical activity:
- Endurance: includes such activities as brisk walking, hiking, pickleball, tennis, swimming and biking
- Balance: activities such as tai chi, yoga, standing on one foot while brushing your teeth, laying down a piece of tape and walking a straight line and eye-tracking exercises (there are some on U-Tube)
- Strength: think about arm curls, chair dips and knee curls
- Flexibility: various stretching exercises for your neck, back, legs and ankles
Aquasizes, when taught by a qualified instructor, is one of the most recommended activities as it is easier on our joints. As a senior we are cautioned not to try any exercise until we have checked with our physician.
If you have a friend to accompany you, you are more likely to keep it up. Try not to go too hard at anything. Take rest days so your muscles can heal.
One piece of research said that while our healing processes have performed notably for many years, as we age they just aren’t quite so efficient. It’s sure a fact with me, I take longer to rebound from any injury and sometimes I’m wiped after an overly busy day!
So before you climb that ladder, shovel the whole driveway without a break or twist to fit under a vehicle, maybe you want to think. We wise in your life choices.