The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is campaigning for April No Falls.
Thursday, 04 April, 2013
To highlight the issue of falls management and awareness, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is campaigning for April No Falls. The association is using the month of April to embrace the no falls message to highlight the issue of falls risk and promote prevention opportunities.
Research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found the number of elderly people who die each year from falls has quadrupled over the past decade. 1530 people over the age of 75 died from falls in 2011, compared to 365 in 2002. Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation in persons aged 65 years and over in Australia.
However there are simple exercise-based strategies available to decrease your risk of falls. In a 2012 study, Canadian researchers found that among the 227 falls they witnessed, the most common cause (41 per cent) was due to an incorrect shifting of body weight, while ‘slipping’ only accounted for three per cent.
“Results like this demonstrate the importance of exercise, strength, and balance training in the prevention of falls and the minimisation of associated risks,” APA President Marcus Dripps said.
“Evidence shows us that home-based exercise programs containing some form of balance and strength training are the most important intervention strategy to effectively decrease falls”.
Inactive or unfit people may have poorer balance and weaker muscles, which increases the risk of falling. Inactivity also allows joints to stiffen which decreases balance.
“An Australian review into falls prevention found that fall rates can be reduced by up to 65 per cent with a combination of a high-dose exercise program and balance challenging exercises, such as standing with feet close together or on one leg while practicing controlled movements,’ Mr Dripps said.
Not only do falls represent a massive physical risk for older individuals, but a fear of falls can lead to loss of confidence and activity avoidance, resulting in a vicious cycle of further declining balance, mobility and independence.
The Association advises people to participate in a tailored balance and strength exercise program to minimize the risk of falls. This will take into account particular areas of weakness or reduced balance, other health conditions, and specific activity goals, such as being able to continue to play golf or play with your grandchildren
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