Home Based Exercise Helps Reduce Risk of Falls

Improve your strength and balance to stay steady on your feet

An article in the British Medical Journal found that a programme of home-based exercise can help prevent falls in the elderly.

As we grow older, many of us become more prone to trips and falls, with around a third of people over 65 suffering a fall each year. Falls in later life can be serious, causing injuries such as concussion and hip fractures and leading to a loss of self-confidence and independence, so it’s important to take action to minimise our risk of falling and keep ourselves safe.

Importance of exercise

Part of the reason we fall more as we get older is that we lose some of our strength, balance and flexibility, causing us to become less steady on our feet. Luckily however, exercise can be used to counteract this.

According to a recent research paper in the British Medical Journal, following a programme of home-based exercise can help to prevent falls amongst the elderly population. The experiment concentrated on women over the age of 80 and involved giving participants an individual programme of strength and balance retraining exercises that they could follow at home. As a result of the exercise programme, researchers saw a noticeable decrease in the number of falls suffered, with the biggest difference being seen in people who previously fell often.

If this is something you think you could benefit from, make an appointment to see your GP. They can refer you to a physiotherapist who will be able to design an effective strength and balance training regime that is tailored to your specific needs.

As well as home-based exercises, older people can also benefit from taking part in gentle sports and activity such as Tai Chi, walking, dancing and swimming. Many community centres and gyms also offer exercise classes that are geared specifically towards older people. So think about what you enjoy doing, seek advice from your doctor, and get out there and get active. As well as helping you to avoid falls, it will also have a positive impact on your general health and wellbeing.

Additional measures

As well as committing to a programme of exercise, there are a number of additional measures you can take to help minimise your risk of falling. A health MOT should be first on your list. Some health conditions and medications can cause dizziness or disorientation which, in turn can lead to trips and falls, so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor who will be able to identify any underlying health problems and review your existing medication if necessary. Given that poor vision contributes to more than a quarter of a million falls in older people each year, regular eye check-ups are also a must.

Familiar surroundings

Your environment makes a big difference when it comes to avoiding falls, so make sure your home is safe, secure and free of dangers. Carrying out a hazard assessment of your home can help you to identify potential risks within the home, and enable you to take the necessary steps to minimise those risks, whether that’s doing something as simple as moving furniture from high-traffic areas and improving the lighting, or taking more permanent measures such as installing grab bars in the bathroom.

The familiarity of your surroundings also plays a big role when it comes to ensuring your health and safety, and people who stay in their own homes with the help of a live in carer are perhaps less susceptible to falls than those who have to move somewhere unfamiliar such as a care home or relative’s house. Hiring a live in carer enables you to remain in your own home, surrounded by familiar objects and following familiar routines, whilst providing you with any additional support you may need. And, if the worst happens and you do take a tumble, you can feel assured that your carer will immediately be on hand to help.

To find out how our live-in carers could help you to remain safe and independent in your own home, please give our team a call.

Accessible Day Trips With Your Live In Carer

Planning the perfect day out

With a bit of advance research and forward planning, you can enjoy a fun, rewarding and accessible day out with your live in carer.

If you suffer from limited mobility or a disability, that shouldn’t mean you have to stay at home looking at the same four walls. In fact, seeing, experiencing, and learning new things is proven to be good for our mental and physical wellbeing, so it’s important to get out and about as much as possible.

One of the big advantages of hiring a live in carer is that you have the freedom and independence to partake in your chosen hobbies and activities, so arranging a day out needn’t be a problem. However if you suffer from any mobility problems or other health-related issues, it’s important to carry out some forward planning to ensure that your chosen location is as accessible as possible. After all, there’s nothing worse than planning a day out only to show up and discover that, due to no fault of your own, you’re unable to enjoy it to the full.

Things to consider

When planning an accessible day out with your carer, there are a number of things to think about. Of course, it all depends on your individual situation, but some things to consider could include wheelchair accessibility, the availability of braille guides or audio tours, and the availability of adult changing facilities. And, if needed, don’t forget about disabled parking - you don’t want your trip to fall at the first hurdle.

You can usually find out these details by visiting the venue’s website, but if you are unsure, don’t be afraid to phone them before you visit to check what accessible facilities they have available. If this is something you have difficulties with, your live-in carer will be able to help.

Where to go

When it comes to tourist venues and attractions, there are a number of accessible options available throughout the UK, so you’re sure to find something that piques your interest. A number of museums, including the Science Museum in London and St Fagans Natural History Museum in Cardiff, made it into the Telegraph’s top 20 list of the UK’s most accessible attractions , as did The MAC arts centre in Belfast, Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, and even a medieval castle or two!

For a comprehensive list of accessible events and venues around the UK, it’s also worth getting hold of publications such as the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, which is free for blue badge holders. There are also regional alternatives available, such as Artsline which concentrates specifically on accessible arts venues in the London area.

Outdoor activities

Staying active and spending time outdoors is really important for our physical and mental wellbeing so, if this is something you enjoy, there’s no reason why your disability or health condition should stop you.

More and more activities are being made available for people with a disability, and popular options include fishing, horse riding, bird watching, and cycling using customised bikes or tandems. If you’re looking for an activity with a bit more adrenaline, why not try a spot of coasteering? Celtic Quest in Pembrokeshire, West Wales are experienced at tailoring their activities to suit a range of different of people, including people with learning difficulties, hearing or vision impairment, and limited mobility.

Whether you prefer a quiet afternoon soaking up culture at a museum or heading out to the countryside to enjoy some fresh air, you’re sure to find some accessible options that match your interests. And with some forward planning and a little bit of research, you can enjoy a great day out with your live-in carer.