Reduce Risks of Falling - prudent counsel
Applies to ALL of us!
and see where do you stand ( not falling ) and what is to be done!!
Increased Risk of Fall Accident Begins at Age 40
One of the main health concerns of elderly people is falling, which is often related to poor balance.
The older you get, the weaker your physical body and sensory abilities will be, which are all factors in having poor balance.
In Japan , more than 7,000 people a year die from falling accidents, which already exceeds the number of traffic accidents.
In this article, we'll examine in more details the cause of falling and why you lose balance as you age.
## Test Your Balance by Standing on One Leg
You can determine how good your balance is by measuring the length of time that you can stand on one leg.
The following table shows the average balance time by age group in a study conducted at a Japanese health institute.
Average time with eyes open
20-39 years old: 110 seconds
40-49: 64 seconds
50-59: 36 seconds
60-69: 25 seconds
Average time with eyes closed
20-39 years old: 12 seconds
40-49: 7 seconds
50-59: 5 seconds
60-69: less than 3 seconds
If your balance time is below average, then you'll have higher risk of falls, or slipping and tripping accidents.
In the above study, women tend to lose their balance more than men but only by a small margin (1-2%). From this study, it is also evident that there's a sudden significant decrease in the ability to maintain balance among middle-aged people (40 years and above).
Please take note that the numbers stated above are only average.
## The Soles of Your Feet Have Sensors
The skins all throughout your body have significant amount of tiny pressure sensors or mechanoreceptors.
The pressure sensors on the foot soles provide information to your brain to help balance your body.
## Poor Blood Circulation Can Disrupt the Pressure Sensors
In our study, people are almost twice as likely to be in a fall accident caused by poor blood circulation.
This can be simulated by soaking your feet into ice cold water for about 3 minutes. Because of the cold temperature, the pressure sensors on the foot sole begin to lose sensitivity.
## Pay Attention to Your Forward-Moving Foot
If your forward-moving foot hit something, your body will be off-balance causing you to fall or trip.
Well, it's a matter of common sense to always have your eyes on path and watch where you are going. Remember the old adages -
But that's not the only problem. Here are the other two major reasons why you stumble while walking.
1. Your forward-moving foot is pointed down.
If your foot is pointed down while making a step, then you are more prone to falling.
2. You walk like a pendulum.
The height of your step can greatly increase your risk of falling.
Actually, all the mechanoreceptors located throughout your body as well as the soles of your feet are sending information to the brain that include muscle contractions and joint angles.
When this information is not transmitted well to your brain, which happens as you get older, then the movement will get weak or ineffective making it hard for you to maintain your foot higher off the ground.
## How to Prevent Yourself from a Fall, Trip, or Slip
1. Keep Your House Clean
There are a lot of things in your house that can contribute to clutters that can cause you to trip or fall.
2. Stretch Your Feet and Ankles
You might think that your feet do not need exercise or stretching compared to other parts of your body, but in reality, feet stretching exercise can really help your feet maintain balance.
3. Keep Your House Warm and Ensure Adequate Lighting
Cold muscles and pressure sensors work less well and are less responsive to signals.
Always try to keep your house warm or wear proper clothes and footwear, especially during winter.
Fall Prevention Exercises: Bethany HomeHealth and Best for Seniors
One out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. In this video, seniors will learn about exercises to prevent falls with a program called Best for Seniors, sponsored by Bethany HomeHealth Services.
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