If you are, you’re not alone.
For all age groups falling over is the most common way we injure ourselves (making up 39% of claims in 2019). That’s a lot.
Every year, one in three people over the age of 65 injure themselves in a fall. This rises to one in two once we reach 80. Ouch.
Once an older person falls, he or she will very likely curtail their activity due to a fear of falling, which then leads to an increased risk of falling again (due to lower limb weakness and decreased stability). A negative spiral.
In NZ alone, there are over 700,000 people aged 65+ and over 169,000 aged 80+(1). Statistically this means that more than 230,000 over 65s, and 84,500 over 85s have been injured in a fall in the last year. That is a lot of pain, inconvenience, surgery, cost and, for many, loss of independence.
However, what really strikes us is how detrimental the fear of falling can be. Not only physically, but very importantly for people’s quality of life; being able to do the things that enrich our lives mentally and emotionally as well.
Being confident enough to get around our own homes without help, getting out to socialise with friends or family, being a meaningful contributor to our families, groups, churches etc, getting in and out of cars/beds/chairs/bathrooms without pain, walking with confidence etc, etc, etc. The list goes on. These are the activities that ground us, give us our place and help us meaningfully connect with others. When our physical capability and confidence are affected negatively, this can lead to a reduction in the quality of our lives.
The very good news is that it is possible to become stronger, more stable and balanced, increase our confidence, and reduce our fall risk (and importantly reduce our fear of falling).
We can do this by improving our core strength and balance. Something that can be worked on no matter our age or individual capability. It does not require complex equipment. It can be done through careful functional exercise in your community, or in your own home. And it can be started at any time.
ACC (New Zealand's government organisation that manages the national compensation scheme) recommends joining a ‘Live Stronger For Longer’ program. It is an approved strength and balance provider’s community or in-home exercise class or program. Read more about ACC’s information HERE and HERE. Read more about Live Stronger for Longer HERE.
As said by Nelson Mandela "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear".
At AgeFIT Home, we combine over 7 years of experience working with seniors in the functional exercise space with technology to provide people with an ability to improve their strength and balance in the comfort of their own home.
Read more about our Live Stronger For Longer approved program designed by a functional ageing specialist HERE. Try our program for free for 14 days, to see if it works for you.
(1) - NZ Census 2016
The content of this article is the personal view of the author, and is not intended as medical advice. The author is not a licensed medical professional, and this article is not specific medical advice. We recommend that if you have a pre-existing condition, which may be affected by low impact exercise, we recommend you seek the advice of your doctor or specialist before commencing any of our exercise routines.