According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for Americans 65+ years of age and older. 1 in 4 older adults fall each year; every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in an ER for a fall; every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall.
These statistics certainly should make you go WHOA! Falls, with or without injury impact quality of life and independence. Losing the ability to live in your own home and community safety, independently and comfortably isn’t something you should accept as an inevitable result of aging. There are things that you can take action on to decrease your risk of falls and to increase your ability to avoid debilitating falls. The concept of Aging in Place is the ability to live in your own home for as long as you can and it is something that you work on starting right now, no matter your current age.
What are some obstacles to Aging in Place? What are some reasons that individuals must leave their homes for Assisted Living or Long-Term Care facilities?
- Poor Eyesight and/or Hearing
- Reduced Muscle Mass/ Less Strength
- Diminished endurance and stamina
- Increased risk of accidents due to bone fragility, poor balance, loss of strength
- Decreased mobility and agility
- Decreased flexibility
The above-listed obstacles compromise our ability to perform Basic Activities of Daily Living, such as:
- Ability to move (walk) from one place to another as you go through daily routines
- Getting in and out of bed
- Getting in and out of a chair
- Showering/ Bathing
- Personal hygiene. Oral, skin and hair care.
- Getting dressed
- Preparing meals including cleaning up after meals; shopping for groceries
In order to successfully and safely live independently, we must have the functional capacity to perform the Basic Activities of Daily Living. What can we be doing now to help ensure that we can be as functionally strong as possible as we age no matter what age we are currently?
- Improve and Maintain your overall Functional Strength and Muscle Mass
- Improve your Flexibility, Mobility, Balance and Coordination
- Maintain and Improve your Cognitive Health
- Improve your Cardiovascular Fitness
Exercise, Nutrition, Hydration, Social interaction and Mental stimulation are positive things things that can be done right now. These actions will lead to improvements in the big category areas listed above. There are many things in life that we cannot control. However, there are many things that we can. I encourage you to focus on those. I’m passionate about coaching others on how to maintain their health and functional strength to the greatest extent possible as they, inevitably, grow older. My personal goal for myself is to stay as strong, healthy and as independent as I can possibly be for the rest of my life. I can incorporate habits right now that will serve me well toward that goal and I’d like to encourage you to develop those habits too. It is never too late to start, but the sooner you start, the better. Need help? Reach out to me and I’d be happy to guide you in the right direction.
Stay Healthy. Be Strong. Get After It.