With the transformation of foliage and a cooler ambiance, autumn presents its distinct charm. Yet, for older adults, this period also signifies heightened risk of falls. Such incidents, while unintentional, can have serious consequences for frail older adults, potentially leading to serious trauma and a deterioration in quality of life. It is imperative for older adults, in collaboration with their family caregivers, to practice fall preventive strategies.
In this brief post, I will delve into my top 3 preventative measures to prevent falls in older adults during autumn:
1) Regular Physical Activity
Consistent engagement in physical activities and structured exercise offers many physiological advantages such as: 1) enhanced muscular strength; 2) optimized joint flexibility; and 3) refined postural balance. These are integral components in thwarting falls. We advise older adults to integrate modalities such as ambulation, proprioceptive stretching exercises, and mind-body practices like yoga or Tai Chi into their weekly routine. These not only fortify musculoskeletal integrity but also fine-tune neuromuscular coordination. Following a brisk walk, introducing specific balance-centric exercises can amplify one’s proprioception, substantially diminishing fall risk.
2) Optimal Footwear
From a biomechanical perspective, the choice of footwear plays a pivotal role in maintaining gait stability and foot-ground interaction, especially during the unpredictable autumnal phase. It’s paramount for older adults to opt for shoes that offer a synergistic blend of slip-resistant soles, anatomically congruent arch support, and a snug fit that aligns with the foot’s natural contours. Getting rid of footwear like elevated heels or those with eroded traction can prevent potential biomechanical imbalances, and therefore mitigating the chances of inadvertent trips.
3) Assistive Devices (when necessary)
For those older adults exhibiting challenges in autonomous mobility, assistive devices—engineered based on ergonomic principles—can serve as invaluable aids. Canes or walkers are designed to redistribute weight, enhance base of support, and provide tactile feedback from the ground, collectively bolstering stability while walking. By leveraging the biomechanics of these devices, older adults can markedly attenuate fall risks while optimizing their ambulatory independence at the same time!
Work with a Pro
At Stephen Fitness & Rehabilitation, we provide premium one on one personal training and exercise therapy in the comfort of home.
We prescribe and supervise exercise routines that are specifically designed for older adults looking to prevent falls in London, Ontario.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you or your parent(s) become stronger, more mobile and independent in the comfort of home!