It is estimated that one-third of people aged 65 and over fall one or more times per year. This often leads to fractures, commonly at the hip or wrist, joint dislocations, head injuries and abrasions. Women are more likely to have a fall compared to men, and are also more likely to be admitted to hospital as a result of a fall.
Having just one fall can lead to a fear of having further falls, avoidance of daily activities, social isolation and lowered quality of life, and therefore it is important to reduce such risk. There are a lot of factors that contribute to an individual’s falls risk. These include: weakened muscles, stiffened joints, sensory and balance problems, reduced physical activity, unstable footwear, vision problems and trip hazards around the home or outside. There is strong evidence suggesting that falls can be prevented in the elderly population through planned exercise programs. Exercise helps maintain strength and balance, in turn reducing the risk of falls and falls-related harm. Group exercise programs are a good option for this.
There are also other things you can do aside from exercise to negate your falls risk. Key to this is to improve safety around the home and wear well-fitting footwear. Another good option should you have a fall is to wear a safety alarm so that if you are unable to get up you can still seek help.
At One Point Health, we run a group balance and strengthening class based around falls prevention. It aims to assist in preventing falls and falls-related harm by improving balance, strength and cardiovascular fitness. The class runs 2 times per week and is led by a combination of a physiotherapist and an exercise physiologist or podiatrist.