Exercises to Help Seniors Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

February 17th, 2015

Fall preventionAccording to the CDC, one out of three older adults falls each year, but less than half of those adults talk to their healthcare provider about it. When a senior experiences a fall, even if it does not result in injury, he can develop a fear of falling, which may cause the senior to limit his activities, leading to reduced mobility, loss of physical fitness, and in turn an increased risk of falling.

In our last blog, we discussed some home modifications you can make to ensure the home is a safer place for seniors. There are also a number of exercises that can help seniors increase muscle strength and improve balance which will not only help prevent falls, but also provide more confidence and overall improved health. Consult with your loved one’s physician before trying the following exercises:

  • Knee Lifts: Try to lift your knee as high as your hip using a secure object to assist in maintaining balance. As you grow stronger, decrease the tendency to lean on a support, and try holding the leg up for 3 seconds or longer.
  • Point and Flex: While sitting, point your toes and then flex them. Repeat with both feet.
  • Toe Tapping: While sitting, tap your toes. Repeat with both feet.
  • Sit-to-Stand: When necessary, use a chair for support when standing and again when returning to a sitting position. Try to gradually decrease use of your arms as your legs get stronger.
  • Calf Muscle Strengthener: While holding onto a wall, chair or the kitchen sink, repeatedly raise yourself up and down on tiptoes. As your strength improves, go higher up on your toes and eventually try it on one foot at a time.
  • Shin Muscle Strengthener: Lean your back against a wall with your heels placed seven to eight inches away from the wall. Lift the toes of both of your feet off the ground as high as possible.
  • One-legged Stand: Hold onto a secure object during balance training, such as a sturdy chair. Lift one leg off the ground and try to maintain balance on your standing leg.

A fall in the home can be a life-changing event for an older adult. Find out more about how to help an older loved one decrease his or her fall risk by contacting the home care experts at Visiting Angels of Sunnyvale and Fremont, CA.

Tags: , ,