Balance and Falls In People Aged 55+: 4 Common Myths

Balance and falls,

Balance and falls are a major public health concern for the growing aging population, especially if your 55+.  Every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall; every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury.  Falls are costly and can cause older adults to lose their independence.

Balance and Falls in 55+

Balance and Falls

Your chance of having a balance and falls-related issue increases with age. Losing your sense of balance for a moment or taking a quick stumble is all it takes for you to end up injured, at the doctor’s office or in the hospital. But falls are not an inevitable part of growing older. You can prevent falls and enjoy your independence, long into your senior years.

As you age, there’s no reason why you should have to give up life’s simple joys just because you are getting older. Staying active is the best prescription for staying healthy. Walk on the beach on a crisp morning day. Play with your grandkids. Feel comfortable and secure, alone in your home. Get out and shop for groceries by yourself – without relying upon a shopping cart or a loved one to ALWAYS help you get around!

Don’t let the fear of falling get in the way of living life independently.

Losing your balance can be a scary thing.

And it’s something we hear people worrying about all the time.

It’s not uncommon that as we get older we begin to feel unsteady on our feet.

People have told me that when they’re out doing their weekly grocery shopping they have to rely on the grocery cart to keep them on their feet, or lean on a loved one to help them get around safely…

That fear of falling spoils their confidence to leave the house alone, or even get up and move around the house independently.

It’s a worrying thing the happens. And most of the time, people don’t understand why it’s happening to them all of a sudden.

Has this happened to you?

So why is it that falls are one of the main causes of accidents and injuries in people aged 55+?

Here are 4 Common Myths About Balance and Falls… and how they can become more of an issue as we get older.

Myth #1: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.

  Fact:  As we age, our muscles become weaker (if we don’t do exercises and keep active to keep them strong).

And weak muscles mean it becomes difficult to support the body in an upright posture.

This can lead to poor posture. If your body isn’t aligned properly, and your muscles can’t control your alignment, quick movements and moving around can throw you off your balance and lead to more falls.

Countless research has found that a daily physical activity or a simple exercise routine like Pilates and Yoga improved the strength, function, and participation in daily life among people 65+ and over.

Our very own Dr. Dawn Andalon wrote an amazing article explaining the benefits of Pilates and how it helps people aged 50+ to build up strength and flexibility, improves your posture all while taking stress off your joints.  Read the article here. ADD ARTICLE HERE

Building up important muscles and Improving your flexibility will develop a better sense of balance. It will help you remain active and maintain your independence at any age.

Myth #2:  Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.

  Fact: Dizziness and loss of balance are sometimes included in that long list of side effects that come with medications.

If your medication makes you drowsy, then your reaction time will be affected, meaning you won’t be able to balance properly because of sudden disturbances.

If you’re on multiple medications and drowsiness is a side-affect, this could be a reason why you feel dizzy each time you get up or find it difficult to stay steady when you’re on your feet.

Myth #3: Your home is your safest place.

Fact: Even your home environment can have a big impact on how you move around day-to-day.

It’s not uncommon that we’ve heard of people who have tripped over a rug, fallen when walking down or up their stairs, or even lost their balance when trying to get out the bath/shower or when walking outside in the yard or to the mailbox.

So, if you have loose carpets, rugs that are easy to trip over, nothing to hold onto around the house – especially when using the stairs or no handle to hold onto when getting out of the bath or shower – changing a few things in your home could help you fall less often and help you to feel more confident around your home.

Myth #4: There is no need to get my vision or hearing checked every year.

Fact: People with vision and hearing problems are twice as likely to fall as those without an impairment. Poor eyesight and difficulties with hearing properly are one of the most common changes that come with aging.

Any issues with hearing and eyesight will make you feel unsteady.

Let me explain…

The inner ear has five, hair-like sensors that manage your balance – three that help you rotate and two that help you make up and down motions.

As we get older, sometimes these sensors begin to not work as well as they used to, not sending the right signals to your brain to help keep you on your feet, meaning your balance and fall risk increases.

Same goes for your eyes – if you can’t see clearly or if things are a little blurry and distorted, then your brain will struggle to help to keep feeling centered.

So deteriorating eyesight and hearing are big factors as to why someone might begin to experience falls.

Get your eyes checked every year and update your glasses, if necessary.

Debunk these myths and get the facts…

With education, an action plan, and a support system, we all can be healthy and safe as we age.

Obviously, I can’t put it down to ‘one’ thing without knowing more about you, how you’re struggling with keeping steady on your feet and your situation…

But what I can do is tell you this – that if you find yourself worried about falling over, or if you’ve noticed a loved one leaning over more than usual and falling down more often…

It’s completely normal. But…

And we have something to help you, and a loved one understand more about it and get back to living life more confidently, without losing your independence.

Announcing  –
‘Better Balance and Less Falls Event’

Because so many people are suffering from balance and falls problems – we have introduced Educational Classes to help people frustrated by this problem…

Our top Balance and Falls specialist, each month, will be hosting an event free for you to come along with a loved one at LEVEL4 PT & Wellness, to help show you a way to get back to living the life on your feet, and find out more about why you’re feeling more ‘unsteady’ or ‘dizzy’, than normal.

If this sounds like you, or if you’re worried about someone you know falling – give us a call at (760) 503-4440 and we’ll tell you when our next ‘Better Balance and Less Falls Event’ is being held, and how we can help you.

Don’t let a fear of falling get in the way of living life independently.

I hope to see you there!

Dedicated to your health,

Dr. Oscar Andalon 🙂

Latest posts by Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA (see all)

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