Preventing Senior Falls Through Daily Life Physical Activity

Senior walking - from webmd.com

According to the CDC, 33% of seniors fall every year.  That equates to over 13 million Americans.  Medical alert services have historically helped seniors after a fall.  Some of the newer services can even detect when a fall happens.  But, what about fall prevention?  What can a medical alert service do to prevent falls?

AARP, MayoClinic and the CDC have released tips to prevent senior falls.  What do all of these entities agree on?   Each lists regular physical activity as one of the top two tips for fall prevention.  Researchers have come to the same conclusion.  According to a 2012 study published in the European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, “regular physical activity in daily life yields significant reduction in falls in older people, especially falls with injuries.”

A properly structured exercise routine based on a doctor’s recommendation is great for seniors to maintain balance, strength and mobility.  Tai Chi in particular has shown to be effective in preventing falls.  However, as the study mentioned above suggests, simply finding more opportunities in everyday life for physical activity (e.g. going for walks in the neighborhood, moving around the house, etc.) can be a great fall prevention strategy for some seniors.

Those that study falls point to increased sedentary behavior as a key early warning sign for falls.  The phrase “use it or lose it” applies here.  If permitted by an individual’s circumstances, seniors should identify small changes in daily routines that lead to less time sedentary.  Just an effort to get up from a chair regularly to move around more can be very helpful for some.

One of the key benefits of the QMedic medical alert service is automated physical activity tracking.  Using the easily understood data collected by QMedic, caregivers can make sure their loved one is at least maintaining their physical activity level over time.  In addition, with the emergency button always available, the senior can feel more confident as they remain active and avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy (i.e. senior fears a fall and is therefore less active, which ends up causing the fall).

Incorporating physical activity tracking with a medical alert service is one important step QMedic has taken towards making these services more proactive rather than reactive.