Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CDC - Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview Part 2

CDC - Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview:

"Many people who fall, even those who are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and physical fitness, and increasing their actual risk of falling" CDC website

Yesterday I wrote about the cost of seniors falling. This fear factor as stated in the quote above is even more insidious. There is no question that movement is an important part of our well being. It is not just exercise but the very act of moving that is critical to health. We must move to stay healthy.

The more falls we have occurring the less movement takes place leading to a very sedentary older population. This is a downward spiral. Disease occurs when we fail to move about. The Russians as I stated in an earlier blog actually had people remain in bed for a year. The results were terrible with the loss of teeth, weakening of bones, depression and digestive malfunctions just to name a few. (I guess I would be pretty depressed to be in bed for a year.)

Weight bearing helps our system function. It makes bones stronger (remember teeth are essentially bone). Weight bearing improves circulation which is important for our cardiovascular system. It also improves blood flow to the brain which is important for mental health.

Here are the four geriatric giants: Memory loss/ dementia, urinary incontinence, depression and falls/ immobility. They are costing a terrible human toll. They also are costs billions of dollars each year in the US alone. And they are interconnected.

If one falls and fears that they may fall again the odds high that the four geriatric giants will be present from then on. The more immobility, the more the odds are high that a second fall will occur. The more the person fears falling the less they move. The less they move the less blood circulates and the more chance of memory loss and dementia.

And sitting in that chair with little or no movement the seniors become easy prey for depression.

We need programs of prevention to prevent falls. But we also need programs to help regain confidence once the person has fallen. We need to keep older adults moving.

Reflexology can help with both prevention of falls and recovery from falls. But there are other programs as well. We need to look at anything which will provide stimulation particularly to the bottom of the feet. It is this reflex action that needs regular triggering to keep things tuned up.

Kevin Kunz



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