Fear of falling

Fear of falling

A recent study published in the journal of the American Medical Association found that for people over 75, the number of those who died from falls more than doubled from 2000 to 2016. As individuals increase in age, they typically have to force themselves to exercise or simply keep moving. However, staying active can help prevent falls.

Mike Holloway, a physical therapist with Peoria-based OSF HealthCare, says there are several  reasons that increase our risk of falling as we get older. We naturally become weaker as we age if we don’t exercise, our balance becomes less stable, vision worsens, sensors in feet are less responsive, and we can develop issues with our inner ears which affect equilibrium.

Holloway says it’s important to resist the inclination to lay down and rest if you aren’t feeling well or after a fall. “You get a little weaker when you lay down and your endurance goes down within a couple of days,” he says. “The best thing you can do is, within pain levels, get up and move as much as you can. The more you move, the better and as long as you’re feeling comfortable you should move.”

When dealing with aging family members, ask them regularly not only if they have fallen, but also if they have had a loss of balance or an increase in trips or stumbles. Those can be a sign of a potential problem.

Source: OSF HealthCare

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