Falls prevention.

Starting at 30, our muscles can lose up to 8% of their strength every decade.

So, by the time we are 80, we are potentially lost 40% of our strength.

Bones tend to become thinner and weaker as we grow older, particularly in women following the menopause. In older age we are also at risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bones to break more easily. So it’s important to avoid trips and falls that can result in a fracture, and to keep our body strong to try to reduce the risk of falling.

 

Top tips to help prevent falls:

    • Mop up spillages straight away so there is no risk of slipping
    • Take particular care when getting up in the night to go to the bathroom. You may need to do this more urgently and frequently as you grow older. If you are at risk of tripping in the dark, have a night light or a lamp with a switch nearby.
    • Remove trip-hazards like clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
    • Use non-slip mats and rugs, or put a carpet grip underneath
    • Use a grip mat in the bath and shower, and have grab rails for getting in and out
    • Use high-wattage light bulbs
    • If you are falling frequently, organise your home to keep climbing, stretching and bending to a minimum and to avoid bumping into furniture. For example, move crockery that you use regularly to a waist-high shelf
    • Get help with tasks you can’t do safely on your own
    • Avoid walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
    • Avoid long, trailing clothes that might trip you up. If you are unable to tack up a hem, then put a belt around your waist and pull the excess material over the belt
    • Wear well-fitting slippers and shoes in good condition that support the ankle and have a good grip on the sole.

Maintain good physical fitness, muscle strength, balance and flexibility (see below):

 

Physical activity

 

 Regular exercise can reduce your risk of falling.

We can help reverse this trend, though, with six simple exercises. These exercises will helps to keep us mobile and independent as we age.

All you need is a sturdy support, sensible shoes and little time each day.

 

  • Exercise 1: Heel raises:


Stand tall and hold your support.

Then lift your heels off the floor, taking your weight through the front part of your feet.

Hold this position for 3 seconds.

Then slowly lower your heels to the floor.

Repeat this 10 times.

 

 

  • Exercise 2: Toe raises:

Stand tall and hold your support again.                                                                             

This time raise your toes – taking your weight on your heels.

Keep upright and do not stick your bottom out.

Hold this position for 3 seconds.

Then slowly lower your toes to the floor.

Repeat this 10 times.

 

 

  • Exercise 3: Heel – Toe stand:

 

Stand tall sideways on to your support, with one hand on your support.

Now, put one foot directly in front of the other, to make a straight line.

While looking ahead, take your hand off the support IF YOU CAN and balance for 

10 seconds.   

Take your front foot back to hip width apart and place the other foot in front instead.

Balance again for 10 seconds.

 

 

  • Exercise 4: One Leg Stand:

 

Stand close to your support and hold it with one hand.

Now balance on one leg, keeping the support knee soft and your posture upright.       

Hold this position for 3 seconds.

Then repeat on the other leg.

 

 

  • Exercise 5: Heel – Toe Walking:

We will be walking forwards for this one, so use a support like a sideboard.

Stand tall with one hand on your support.

While looking ahead, place one foot directly in front of the other, so your feet form a straight line. 

Then move the back foot in front of the other.

Continue a steady walking action for 10 steps.

Then take the feet back to hip width apart, turn around and repeat the steps in the other direction.

 

 

  • Exercise 6: Sit to Stand:

 

Grab a sturdy chair and sit tall towards the front with your feet tucked slightly back.   

Now, lean forwards slightly, keep your nose up and stand up.

If you need to place your hands on the chair for extra support.

Carefully step back until your legs touch the chair.

Then slowly lower yourself back into the chair.

Repeat this 10 times.

 

 

 

 

That is it. Keep this up and you will help your muscles stay strong.

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