Why Seniors Fall and How to Prevent It
We naturally lose muscle mass as we age which affects our strength and balance. This makes us more prone to falling, a dangerous thing. Falls are a major cause of hospitalization, and it only takes one fall to change a person’s life. Falls lead to fracturing of bones, brain injury and even death for the elderly and frail. So, knowing what puts us at increased risk for a fall, and how to prevent muscle loss is incredibly important.
Muscle loss is referred to by your health professional as sarcopenia. For a long time scientists believed sarcopenia was an inevitable part of aging, muscle deterioration for which there was little we could do to prevent. While there is no medical cure for sarcopenia, we now know there are preventative steps to slowing down this loss of critical muscle tissue, which better helps us in preventing falls.
Here are 1–2–3 important steps to preventing falls:
- Keeping Active, Now. — remaining active daily is so crucial that this alone could be a major deciding factor as to when, after the age of about 40, muscle loss will begin to really affect you. Resistance training, swimming, yoga and cardio workouts all help to build and maintain muscle tone, balance hormones, and even improve neuron function. It is the nervous system that serves the muscles and tells them what to do.
- Eating for Tomorrow –poor food and nutrient intake results in muscle wasting, bone loss, and affects our overall well-being. Keeping in mind also that our dietary protein requirements change as we age and many of today’s seniors are not adequately meeting their daily minimum requirements for protein. Therefore, eating right and enjoying a wide variety of colourful foods and cooking methods, with a focus on ensuring there is enough healthy sources of protein is key in preventing muscle loss.
- Making the Home Safe — take preventative actions to avoid falls where they most often occur — in and around the home. Create a safe, clutter-free, home environment, inside and out, with supportive devices and mindful safety initiatives. If you’re unsure of how to do this, talk to your Premier Homecare Services Care Coordinator and we’d be happy to share our resources. It may interest you to know that we complete regular home safety checks for all of our clients as part of our homecare services.
For more information on fall prevention and how to keep you or your aging loved ones safe and in the home they love, please call us. We’d love to hear from you.