Exercise for Older Adults

Falls among older adults.

Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, like head and brain traumas, hip and spine fractures and lacerations. Falling among older adults can increase the risk of early death. With a few simple modifications and a suitable exercise intervention, falls are largely preventable.

At Raath & Wright Biokineticists we conduct specialised falls risk evaluation of individuals, according to their own requirements and shortfalls. We analyse various balance skills, as well as functional muscle strength and endurance. We also set some individual goals based on individualised needs that may relate to factors like the fear of falling or lack of motivation.

After this comprehensive assessment, the biokineticist is able to prescribe suitable rehabilitative exercises that improve the shortfalls and meet the physical needs of the individual. Regular re-assessments and further goal setting are important tools in achieving further success.

We offer individual sessions, group sessions, as well as monitored home exercise programs, depending on your needs.

How can older adults prevent falls?

It is important that correct exercises are prescribed to individuals who are at risk of falling. Leg strength and balance skills are vital in equipping these individuals with sufficient skills to prevent a fall or recover from a fall-like scenario. Coordinated movement patterns allow for increased stability and reduced chance of losing one’s balance.

The interaction of various prescription and non-prescription medication on an individual can lead to sensations such as drowsiness, dizziness and sedation. With the help of a medical professional, reviewing all medication consumed can identify and eliminate these medication side effects and interactions.

Environmental factors lead to half the falls that occur at home. Falls can be caused by slipping and tripping, poor lighting or lack of home modifications. Some homes need to be modified with bathroom grab bars, modified showers, stair railings and ramps.

Vision deterioration and loss is associated with aging, and this is a common risk factor. Poor vision can contribute to falls by disturbing balance and obscuring tripping hazards.

Facts about falls : Change our mindset from fear to fitness.

– South Africa’s population over the age of 65 years is set to quadruple over the next 4 decades. The ‘oldest’ age group of older than 85 years is growing more rapidly than any other age group.

– Falling is the leading cause of morbidity and reduced activity in those over the age of 65 and the largest single cause of death due to injury in the elderly

– Falls are often the indirect cause of death, as when pneumonia or pulmonary emboli follow a period of immobility due to a fall

These statistics may seem overwhelming, but despite this, most falls in the elderly do not result in death or significant physical injury. However, the psychological damage and fear of falling can be debilitating and can create a tendency to fall or may lead to self-protective immobility.

Focusing on leg strengthening three or more times per week for 20 to 60 minutes each time can be a major contributor of better balance for older adults. Research has shown that many falls result from profound muscle weakness from not exercising. As well as increasing muscle tone, exercise can help prevent falls by improving spatial awareness, coordination, gross and fine motor skills, reaction time, and enhances poise, posture and grace.

 Why not contact us for a discussion about options that may suit your particular needs?