With a grandmother preparing to turn 85 this year, I’m well aware of the statistics about balance and falls for women her age, and that because she fell and broke her wrist last year, she was at a heightened risk for a second, more serious fall this year. The good news is that she’s in better health than most seniors — she tries to walk at least 3 miles every day, she eats well, and (despite her stroke post–hip replacement a couple of years ago) she’s in good health for the most part.
But I’ll still try to get her to do these tests the next time I see her. It can’t hurt, right?
How good is your balance?
with advice from Kristina Holland, PTA
As we noted last December, our danger of falls increases exponentially as we age; the CDC estimates that one out of every three adults over 65 will fall each year. Kristina Holland, a physical therapist assistant at Clinton Physical Therapy Center (a Physiquality network member in Clinton, Tennessee), notes that knowing this doesn’t necessarily help us: As someone ages, she is more likely to fear falling, which often leads to a vicious circle of reducing activity, increasing weakness, and a greater risk of falling.
One way to reduce your risk of falling is to take control of your health and measure how good your balance is — the better your balance, the less likely you are to fall. There are a couple of tests that you can do at home to measure your balance.