Seniors: 2 quick tests to assess your risk of falling

The term “senior citizen” is defined by the execrable AARP (that endorsed Obamacare) as Americans age 50 or over. Another definition is 65 or older, because 65 is when you’re eligible for Medicare.

Whatever the definition, falling is the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. (National Council on Aging)

Some alarming statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • As many as 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
  • In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
  • The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

falling is not an inevitable result of aging.

Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based falls prevention programs, and clinical-community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be substantially reduced.

Below are two very simple, very short tests to assess your balance and risk of falling:

(1) 10-second balance test:

As we age, maintaining balance becomes critical so we can stay steady and avoid falls. In this video, fitness expert David Jack shows us how to do a quick balance check:

  • Stand up in open space, i.e., not against a wall or a piece of furniture.
  • Put your feet together, close your eyes, and balance.
  • Stand for 10 seconds.

Did you have a sense of anxiety or fear? Did you start to sway? That’s your brain telling you balance is something you need to work on.

2. 30-second Sit-to-Stand Test:

How many times can you sit and stand from a chair in 30 seconds? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack explains how this quick—but important—test can give you clues about your lower-body strength and endurance.

You’ll need a regular, sturdy chair with a seat that’s about 17 inches high.

If you’re not able to sit and stand on your own power safely, skip the test. If you did 19 or more reps, that’s a sign your lower-body strength and endurance are above average.

How did you do on the two tests?

If the results say you need to work on balance and/or your lower-body strength, there are 6 balance exercises you can do to improve your stability and reduce your chances of falling. Go here.

Stay strong!


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9 Comment authors
LophattJackie PuppetPilot DaveGoldbugKeith Recent comment authors
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Joseph BC69
Joseph BC69

This silver sneakers site comes up as an error in connection, site does not exist. With my L knee as blown out as it is, I’m not even going to try the sit-stand part. The balance part wasn’t too bad, but then again, I’m having a good knee day… So far, at 6:52 AM!


Nut’n wrong with falling, the problem is able to get up! Sometimes I feel I’m in my early months because I have to hang on to something strong to be able to get up, OMG, talk about a good laugh!


Maybe if we made falling illegal, people would finally stop falling so often. (/sarc)

I’m with Alma: getting down isn’t the problem, it’s the getting up again! I think my problem is my knees/joints. I’ve been slender all my life, so extra weight isn’t my problem (so far!), but I have this joint-killing auto-immune thing going on…


#1: I stood, eyes closed, feet together, for 60 seconds, no problem. #2: I got up from my chair and sat down 30 times in 30 seconds. I’m 82, so I guess I’m okay? Maybe doctors should quit feeding the elderly so many Rx meds?


I’m a senior and I categorize my probability of falling:
Normal activity: I might fall
Have I been drinking: if yes, enhance fall potential and balance test result skewed

Pilot Dave
Pilot Dave

Maybe a better question – one my flight surgeon always asks – “Have you ever passed out?”

My cardiologist now asks: “How many pillows do you sleep with?” – More than one?

Both point to an increased risk of falling.

Jackie Puppet
Jackie Puppet

Ahhhhh, this was the post that I couldn’t make a week ago. Like Joseph BC69, I won’t even bother with the second test, not when I’ve already had major knee surgery, and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop on the other knee. I’ll probably eventually need knee replacement surgery for both of them – my dad did for his a decade ago. My goal from knee surgery after dislocating my knee, and rupturing my patella tendon (and fracturing my tailbone when I landed on it), was just to be able to walk normally, since no one else in… Read more »