Exercise and diet may not prevent senior falls
November 1, 2011
Fall risks tend to increase with age. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three seniors over the age of 65 falls annually, many times resulting in serious injury and even death. Most believe that staying active through exercise and eating right can ward off falling, however a new study finds that being active may not be as effective in preventing falls as people might believe.
To test this, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston analyzed the mobility patterns of elderly patients – 10 of whom were in the hospital for fall related issues and 25 who hadn't fallen – by tracking them in their homes. All participants wore small electronic devices that counted each step they took during the study.
From the data, researchers found that both seniors who had fallen and those who hadn't fallen, had moved or walked around almost the same amount. This shows that although exercise may help ward off serious health problems, it may not be the cure-all against falls.
Caregivers worried about a loved one falling in their home may want to install a medical alert system into their house as a precaution. This device allows a senior to call for help in an instant should they fall when alone.