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August 20, 2012

Living Independently: Improving Your Balance Can Prevent Falls

Children seem to be made of rubber; they bounce back up after a fall as if nothing happened. Unfortunately, we lose our ability to “bounce” as we age. As we move into our 60s and beyond, our risk of being seriously injured in a fall increases. A combination of balance training, medical checkups, and fall-proofing your home can decrease your risk of falling and injury. 

  • Balance training. Exercise and physical therapy are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve balance and reduce fall risk. Tai chi is often recommended for mature adults as it is known to improve balance, flexibility, and muscle strength – all of which are important in preventing falls. A low-impact exercise with a stress-reducing meditative quality, tai chi classes are available through many senior centers, local park districts, health clubs and martial arts centers. Learn more about tai chi at Kendal at Oberlin here.
  • Medical checkups. Because balance problems can be caused by vision or ear problems, prescription medications or drug interactions, a visit to your doctor should be your first step if you start to experience balance issues or take a sudden tumble. Your doctor can determine whether cataracts, glaucoma, inner ear ailments, medication side effects or other medical issues need to be addressed.
  • Fall-proof your home. Half of all falls occur in the home. Keep walkways and stairs free of clutter. Remove throw rugs or secure their edges with double-sided tape. Install grab bars in the bathroom and use non-slip bath mats in the tub and shower.

If you plan on staying in your home as you age, Kendal at Home’s Care Coordination Team can help assess your home for fall risks and make recommendations for preventing falls. Contact us today to learn more. 


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