Posted: 16th December 2019
Posted in: Health Tips
Balance for Older Adults – In Australia the rate of falls resulting in hospitalisation increased by 3% each year between 2002 and 2013, with about 100,000 people aged 65 and over being hospitalised due to a fall in 2012-2013 (1). There are many studies that show evidence of a direct link between balance and risk of falls (2).
Balance is defined as a person’s ability to maintain their centre of gravity over their base of support.
Balance can be divided into 2 types:
There are 3 systems within the body that work together with our brain to maintain balance:
The ability of the body to maintain balance can be disrupted by damage to one or more of these systems through disease, injury, or the process of aging. Due to the complexity of the balance system it can be challenging to identify the underlying cause of imbalance.
Age related degeneration, as well as various diseases more common with old age, can affect all systems involved in balance. If you are feeling unsteady you might be fearful of performing certain activities.
Poor balance often leads to inactivity due to fear of falling. As a result, you stop challenging your balance systems and muscles which can make everyday tasks such as getting up from a chair or walking more difficult. This can further decrease your confidence leading to a cycle of inactivity.
Programs consisting of balance and strength exercises, as well as exercises that challenge the vestibular system, have been found to be an effective method of improving balance control and confidence in older adults living in the community (3). Step training has also been shown to significantly increase balance and decrease falls among older adults by approximately 50% (4). For conditions affecting the inner ear, vestibular rehabilitation therapy can be used.
Physiotherapists are equipped with the skills and knowledge to conduct a thorough assessment of your balance, mobility and risk of falling. By identifying the factors causing your reduced balance, we can create a program targeted at improving your balance control and reducing your risk of falls.
If you are having frequent falls or are feeling unsteady on your feet, give us a call at Generation Physio. We have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.