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Fall Prevention Exercises for Seniors Deconditioned after COVID Restrictions

Falls can have serious consequences, especially for older people. According to the Government of Canada, falls cause 85 percent of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations and 95 percent of all hip fractures. In addition, 50 percent of all falls in older people happen at home.

A fall can result in chronic pain, bone fractures that can reduce mobility, and a loss of independence. In extreme cases, they can even be fatal. It’s crucial for home and family caregivers to take preventative measures that cut the risk of falling, a lengthy wait in the emergency room, and a long recovery period.

What can cause falls in older adults?

Although a single factor can cause a fall, many falls are related to a combination of factors, such as:

  • Balance or walking issues
  • Vision changes
  • Side effects from taking too many medications
  • Low blood pressure
  • Home hazards, such as tripping hazards, dim lighting, loose rugs, and slippery floors
  • Sitting or standing up from the toilet
  • Feet and footwear issues
  • Deconditioning

How have COVID-19 restrictions increased the risk of falls?

Our care team has seen an increase in the number of falls in older people over the last year. We believe much of this has to do with the deconditioning of their muscles due to two years of COVID-19 restrictions that limited physical activities.

These older adults may have returned to participating in their usual activities without realizing the deconditioning of their body.Your loved one can help cut the risk of falls by performing balance and strength training exercises that will help prevent mishaps in the future.

Exercises that cut the risk of falls

Simple movements such as standing up from a sitting position, squatting down, or walking can be difficult for many older people and cause them to feel unsteady. This sensation can lead to falling. The exercises we’re recommending are intended for people with a low risk of falling or who can stand independently without assistance.

As with any new exercise routine, please check with your loved one’s doctor or physical therapist to ensure the movements are appropriate and safe.

Sit-to-Stand Exercise

This sit-to-stand exercise strengthens leg muscles, boosts body mechanics, and improves balance, all of which are crucial in helping prevent falls.

Be sure to have a steady support surface, such as a countertop, within easy reach in case you feel unsteady at any point during the movement.

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair of standard height that won’t slide or roll under you. Keep your feet flat on the ground and position your buttocks at the front of the seat.
  2. Lean your chest forward over your toes and shift your body weight forward.
  3. Squeeze your gluteal muscles and slowly rise to a steady standing position.
  4. Slowly sit back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the movement ten times, twice per day.

You can place your hands on the seat or arms of the chair to help steady you when first attempting this exercise. When you’re ready, you can cross your arms in front of you, so you’re not using your hands at all. Watch this video for a demonstration of these movements.

If you feel pain in your knees, back, or hips during or after the exercise, discontinue the routine and speak to your doctor or physical therapist.

Balance Exercise

These movements using a chair will help improve your balance. Ensure that you have someone with you in case you feel unsteady. Start by keeping both hands on the chair throughout the routine. As you improve, move to one hand and then no hands.

Exercise 1: Hip flexion

  1. Stand up tall
  2. Slowly lift one leg and put it back on the ground
  3. Repeat five times
  4. Switch to the other leg and repeat

Exercise 2: Tandem stance

  1. Stand up tall with one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, pointing directly in front of you
  2. Hold for 20 seconds
  3. Switch positions so the foot that was in the back is now in front of the other
  4. Hold for 20 seconds

Exercise 3: Single-leg stance

  1. Stand tall with both feet on the ground, steadying yourself with your chair
  2. Bend one knee to lift your foot off the floor
  3. Hold for 20 seconds
  4. Slowly return your foot to the floor and repeat with the other leg for 20 seconds

Exercise 4: Squats

  1. Stand up tall next to your chair with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Holding on to the chair, slowly sit down and come up again
  3. Repeat five times

Repeat the entire routine, increasing time and repetitions as you feel more comfortable with the movements. Watch this video for a demonstration.

Again, stop the routine and see your doctor if you feel any pain in your knees, back, or hips.

Other ways to prevent falls

You can take additional steps to help your loved one cut the risk of falling, such as:

  • Correcting or remove fall hazards in their home
  • Discussing medications and changes in their exercise routine with their doctor
  • Buying them well-fitting indoor shoes and slippers with non-slip soles

Read our article “10 Ways to Prevent Falling in the Home” for more tips on helping your older loved one avoid falls and stay safe!

Quality in-home elder care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

CareHop specializes in providing quality eldercare services when your family needs support to help your elderly loved one live at home independently and with optimal health.

CareHop specializes in providing quality eldercare services when your family needs support to help your elderly loved one live at home independently and with optimal health.

Over caregivers provide professional in-home nursing care, PSW services, and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care that focuses on your loved one’s specific needs. We also offer in-home elder care services such as homemaking and meal preparation, personal care, activities, and casual companionship so they can enjoy their vintage years with the highest quality of life possible.

CareHop’s elder care services are designed to positively impact your loved one’s life throughout the year or at certain times when you need us the most.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help you.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

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