My Parkinson’s support group spent part of our meeting discussing falls, a major concern for those with PD. But we aren’t alone; about a third of us over 65 will fall each year, often with serious consequences.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-based deaths among seniors, and that percentage has risen sharply in the last decade.
Outcomes Linked to Falls
The Center for Disease Control reports these common aftermaths:
- Twenty to thirty percent of those who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures or head trauma. Those injuries can make it difficult to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
- Most fractures experienced by seniors are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
- Many people who fall, even if they aren’t injured, develop a fear of falling that may cause them to limit their activities, which in turn leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness. With reduced fitness, the likelihood of falls increases.
Exercise: Physical activity is one of the best ways to prevent falls. My BIG exercises help me, and so do other balance exercises I’ve discovered — like standing on one foot for as long as I can, walking heel-to-toe across the room, and getting up and down from my chair ten or 20 times. Strength training, stretching, yoga and tai chi are often recommended. I plan to see if my local senior center offers tai chi.
What Has Worked for You?
Preventing falls is a major concert for most of us. I’d love to hear any tips or suggestion you have. Just click the comment button.