Preventing Falls in Seniors

Unfortunately, falls are one of the leading causes of death and disability in older people. Something as random and quick as a fall can change the entire life of the person who fell and their caretakers. My grandmother-in-law, with whom I was very close, lost her independence following a fall; she couldn’t live alone anymore and had to go to a nursing home. This was the beginning of the end for her — within seven months, she had passed. I still miss her a lot.

One of the best ways I found to develop and maintain the stability to prevent falls in the elderly is by starting to do strengthening exercises while you are younger. Tai Chi is excellent for this. It may seem that the people aren’t doing much when they do tai chi, but this kind of exercise develops strength in the legs. It can help with confidence (a big part of it, actually) and stability. Start early with this — it does become too late. A 90 year-old-patient I see, a man, tried to start tai chi at 86, and by then, he couldn’t hold himself up properly. I felt bad for him but if only he’d started earlier, he could have really seen some benefit. For more information, see the CDC report called, “Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview” and go to Youtube and check out the following video for an example of a woman doing tai chi.

Kerri Winston, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in Atlanta, Georgia's Buckhead area. If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help you or your loved ones, please call 404-949-0550 or send email to [email protected].