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Good strength, mobility and balance is essential for independent living and Aging in Place. Preventing falls can be a life or death situation. The CDC states that one out of every four older adults 65 years and older falls annually. With falls being the # 1 reason older adults to lose their independence, improving your odds by reducing and eliminating risk factors for falling maybe the single one thing you need do to stay independent. September 22 is the first day of Fall and National Falls Prevention day and a good day to find out more about your fall risk.

There are many reasons why falls happen, it is often a combination of things, from environmental hazard such as a wet or uneven floor or slippery side walks or changes in the body such as increasing muscle weakness, stiff joints and limited joint mobility, problems with balance, poor posture and poor core stability, reduced hearing, vision, and reduced sensation in the feet(neuropathy). These changes affect how well we move during our daily activities and how we respond to unexpected events.

When you find yourself falling, New York City Health advises:

  • Try to let your body go limp, rather than stiff while falling

  • Keep your elbows, wrists, knees and ankles loose - don't try to break your fall with stiff arms and wrists

  • Protect your head: tuck in your chin and put your arms around your head

Additional conditions that can increase your fall risk are:

  • Taking a new medication

  • Low blood pressure

  • Dehydration

  • Inappropriate footwear

  • Dirty glasses

  • History of falling

If you have osteoporosis or very low bone density a simple trip, stumble and fall cause fracture of traumatic brain injury and could become a life changing event.

Staying independent for life

Aging in Place and not a nursing home requires some planning. With falls being the # 1 reason older adults to lose their independence, reducing your risk factors for falling your be your primary goal in protecting your precious independence.

Many older adults fall in or around their own home. Fixing or removing tripping hazards and/or preparing your home for aging in place so that you can navigate safely through and in and out of your home. Take action when you experience changes in you balance.

Prepare the body for aging in place and independent living is just as important. This includes muscle strengthening exercises, balance and mobility training. Exercise programs for balance and mobility must specifically address your specific balance disorder to provide desired results. To maintain our functional fitness and our independence we need to avoid illness, injury and stay physically active.

Screen, Assess, Intervene

​Fall Risk Screening can determine fall risk in an individual and modifiable fall risk factors. Assessment of one's balance and mobility can determine possible balance impairments. Interventions such as restoring balance and mobility strength and as stability, identifying modifiable home fall risk hazards are tailored to each client and are adapted throughout the age-span.

We utilize the standardized STEADI-CDC fall risk screen and use the most appropriate tools for assessing balance, mobility, and strength, and then use the results to guide the development of functional fitness and progressive balance and mobility training.

Balance fluctuates daily, for example, a poor night sleep can affect your balance and increase fall risk, and a hot day and not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and dizziness. Balance generally deteriorates to an extent over a lifespan due to age-or disease-related changes in function, however physical inactivity is probably one of the more common reasons why we become at increased risk for falls and injury as we age.

This September pay close attention to how you move about in your environment, balance and mobility exercises and programs should begin when you are just beginning to experience a change in your balance.

With good strength balance and mobility you increase your chances for enjoying active and vibrant aging for life.

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