Falls are way more common in the elderly than you may think. Do you know that approximately 25% of people over 65 years old fall? And if they fall once, there is a higher chance the fall will happen again.
Older adults are prone to fractures, and with every fall they risk breaking a bone. Hips, legs, and arms are especially sensitive. Falls happen due to an illness, vision problem, medication, etc. There are certain tips that help seniors regain their balance and prevent falls.
Fall prevention exercises are important, because they improve strength and balance. Even when reaching for a glass, seniors can fall. Thus, we will explain how to perform two simple exercises for preventing falls especially designed to keep senior’s balance when reaching for objects.
Simple Home Exercises
In the video we shared on this page, you will see two physical therapists who show the right way to perform the exercises. The exercises are designed to help everyone having balance issues, especially people who had a stroke.
In the beginning, the therapists talk about the most common causes of falls in the elderly. As the video goes on, they demonstrate two exercises which anyone can do. The exercises should improve coordination when reaching for objects and prevent older adults from falling.
Take two objects, one smaller and one larger. (The therapists used a remote control and a larger box of tissues in the video, but anything that size will work.) Place the objects side by side on a table of regular height. Let your seniors stand far enough from the table so they need to lean forward to reach the objects.
Ask your older adult to pick up the tissue box (or any other object you placed on the table) with one hand, while still standing in the same place. They should lean forward, take it, and go back to the upright position.
Afterward, they should pick up the smaller object the same way they picked up the larger one. Once they have both objects, ask them to return them to the table.
You can increase the difficulty by adding smaller objects. The smaller they are, the harder it is to grab them.
Take two high tables and have your seniors stand between them. On one table, place two objects (you can use the remote control and tissue box again) and ask your older adults to move them one by one from one table to the other. Then, ask them to take the objects back to their original positions.
If you see that this exercise is quite easy for your older adults, you can spice things up. They can stand on one leg, holding a cane in one hand, while moving objects with the other.
How Many Times Should the Movement Be Repeated?
These fall prevention exercises for seniors can be repeated as many times as you want. Start with a small number of reps, and see if it is too much for your seniors. If you estimate they can do more reps, increase the number of repetitions or ask them to stand a little further from the tables. In patients who are recovering from a stroke, focus on the weaker hand and the weaker side of the body.
Always be next to your loved ones when they are performing exercises. Make sure they stay on their feet and don’t fall (which can happen, especially when they first start doing them). Once you notice they are tired, don’t push them to do more. Take a break and continue later or the following day. These fall prevention exercises can be tiring, despite how easy they seem in the video.