As we age, our risk of falling increases due to decreased bone and muscle strength, vision and hearing loss, and balance issues. One in three seniors will experience at least one fall annually which can result in serious injuries, such as hip fractures. By introducing small lifestyle adjustments and upgrades around the home you can reduce your fall risk.
Almost half of senior injuries happen in the home; the majority in areas such as the stairs or bathroom. There are ways to ensure your home environment is as safe as possible to prevent injury. Help minimize your risk of falling by ensuring you have good lighting throughout your home so you can see any possible tripping dangers. Removing clutter in the home is essential in reducing the chance of stumbling over any unexpected obstacles such as boxes or cords. If you feel unsteady, use sturdy handrails along both sides of the stairs or in the shower to ensure you have the support you need. A lot of falls occur when we are busy and not paying attention to where we are stepping so never rush when moving through your home.
Now that you have a safe home environment, making some health focused lifestyle adjustments will help you maintain your strength and improve your balance. Eating healthy, balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day will help prevent you from feeling dizzy and weak which could increase your risk of falling.
Another important way to reduce fall risk is regular exercise. Almost any form of physical activity can be helpful in strengthening your muscles to improve stability. Options include brisk walking, swimming or a supervised aerobics exercise class. Exercise has many additional benefits including preventing chronic joint and muscle pain, reduced fracture risk, increased bone health in the low back and hip, increased walking speed and improved joint range of motion.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Chiropractors are educated to assess fall risk by evaluating your balance and strength to determine which exercises and advice will help you. Regular chiropractic care can also help reduce fall risk by ensuring your joints and muscles are moving optimally. Benefits of chiropractic care include increased stepping speed, improved processing of visual and sound information and improved sense of where our joints are positioned. Improving how our brain integrates information allows us to respond better in hazardous situations that could result in a fall. When our joints are moving properly, our brain can better process where our joints are in space, which reduces the chance of stumbling.
Chiropractors treat the joints of the spine and extremities with adjustments, mobilizations, soft tissue therapy, rehabilitation exercises, patient education and cold laser therapy. Using these techniques, you can gain increased movement and flexibility, improved posture and correction of walking problems. If you have concerns about your fall risk or balance issues, our team at Fall River Chiropractic would love to help!
- Canada, H. (2019). Seniors and Aging – Preventing Falls in and around Your Home – Canada.ca. [online] Canada.ca. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/lifestyles/seniors-aging-preventing-falls-around-your-home.html [Accessed 22 Aug. 2019].
- Holt KR, Haavik H, Lee ACL, Murphy B, Elley CR. Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal Of Manipulative And Physiological Therapeutics. 2016;39(4):267-278. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.02.003