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.
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