Facts about falls: Change our mindset from fear to fitness

  1. South Africa's population over the age of 65 years is set to quadruple over the next 4 decades. The 'oldest' age group of older than 85 years is growing more rapidly than any other age group.
  2. Falling is the leading cause of morbidity and reduced activity in those over the age of 65 and the largest single cause of death due to injury in the elderly
  3. Falls are often the indirect cause of death, as when pneumonia or pulmonary emboli follow a period of immobility due to a fall
  4. These statistics may seem overwhelming, but despite this, most falls in the elderly do not result in death or significant physical injury. However, the psychological damage and fear of falling can be debilitating and can create a tendency to fall or may lead to self-protective immobility.
  5. Focusing on leg strengthening three or more times per week for 20 to 60 minutes each time can be a major contributor of better balance for older adults. Research has shown that many falls result from profound muscle weakness from not exercising. As well as increasing muscle tone, exercise can help prevent falls by improving spatial awareness, coordination, gross and fine motor skills, reaction time, and enhances poise, posture and grace.

 

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