Swimming Helps Prevent Falls!


An article by Aquamobile tells us that swimming helps prevent falls in Senior Citizens:

How Does Swimming Benefit Senior Citizens?

  • Improves heart health: As we age, our heart and cardiovascular system weakens, but swimming provides a boost to the heart that makes it stronger, larger and improves daily physical endurance. As an added bonus, swimming also reduces the risk of heart and lung disease.
  • Low impact on joints: Jogging and even walking are a strain on a senior’s joints. Swimming provides a sense of weightlessness that eases pressure off your hips, knees and spine, making it a workout that offers a healthy alternative for those suffering from arthritis and may ease discomfort.
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis: This is especially of concern for elderly women who lose bone mineral density as they age and can lead to broken bones. In fact, one in three women over 50 and a fifth of men will suffer a bone fracture.
  • Increased flexibility: The low impact support of the water allows the body to move freely without obstruction especially in the hips, legs and neck, all of which are common sources of tightness for seniors.
  • Improves mental health: Swimming has been proven to reduce stress and increase endorphins, which brings a sense of joy. It also provides a social activity that makes exercise feel like less of a chore and gives seniors a reason to get out of the house.

Our lower body and core strength are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle late into life, however many seniors are limited to the physical activity they can do regularly. What might be the most important benefit of swimming is the opportunity for a senior to overcome their fear of falling, while at the same time reducing discomfort from a previous fall. Swimming can also be invaluable to building a social life in your “golden years” with plenty of opportunities at your local pool or YMCA to meet others, while reducing risk of injury and social isolation, a reality that far too many seniors are facing.

It’s never too late to learn how to swim or brush up on your swimming skills!

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Seniors and Falls

From Statistics Canada:

One-fifth of seniors fell

In 2008–2009, approximately 20% of Canadians aged 65 and older (862,000 seniors) reported a fall in the previous year. Among seniors who fell in the past year, 61% were women and 39% were men.

Falls increased with age. About 17% of seniors between the ages of 65 and 69 reported falling in the past year, compared with 27% of seniors aged 85 and older.

What comes first – fear or a fall?

Past research has sought to understand what comes first: the fear of falling or the fall. A longitudinal study from the United States found that both occurred: in some cases falling led to fear, and in others, fear led to falls.

In general, among seniors who had not fallen, an initial fear of falling led to a higher probability of falling later on. The same study also found that among seniors who were initially not afraid of falling, those who experienced a fall were more likely to report fear of a fall 20 months later than seniors who had not fallen. That is, a fall led to the development of fear.


High risk of falling: Accurate and underestimated

Seniors who were at a high risk of falling were divided into two groups: those who accurately perceived a high risk of a fall, and those who underestimated their risk. While both groups were at high risk of a fall, compared with seniors who accurately perceived a high risk, those who underestimated their risk:

  • were diagnosed with fewer chronic conditions;
  • took fewer medications;
  • had a better perception of their health; and
  • walked more often (Chart 6).

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Those of us with older parents worry about our parents wandering and getting lost and harmed, and this is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. Some Seniors worry that our spouses will wander. Many who are lost get mugged, attacked, and even die. Local governments spend tens of thousands searching for lost Seniors, and the longer it takes to find them, the more dangerous their predicament becomes.

Six in 10 people with dementia will wander.

One of the most challenging, life-threatening issues related to the care of the person with cognitive loss is the occurrence of wandering, wherein the person strays into unsafe territories and may be harmed. A person with Alzheimer’s may not remember his or her name or address, and can become disoriented, even in familiar places. Wandering among people with dementia is dangerous. Anyone who has memory problems and is able to walk is at risk for wandering.

Even in the early stages of dementia, a person can become disoriented or confused for a period of time. It’s important to plan ahead for this type of situation. Studies vary on the prevalence of wandering in institutionalized dementia patients but is estimated that 11 % to 24 % wander.

What would happen if a Senior wanders, gets lost, and then falls? We have solutions for you: See IPSSafety.com

Falls Are Serious and Costly for Seniors

This is the post excerpt.


2004 - 2013, United States Unintentional Fall Death Rates per 100,000 All Races, Both Sexes, Ages 65+  Source: www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars 2004: 41.15, 2005: 43.12, 2006: 44.8, 2007: 48.47, 2008: 50.91, 2009: 51.54, 2010: 53.76, 2011: 55.36, 2012: 56.07, 2013: 56.96

My wife’s friend fell in her apartment and couldn’t get up or reach her phone. Two days later, her friend realized that something was amiss and called the Emergency Services, who had to get in through the third floor window to rescue her. She was hospitalized for ten days, and the doctor said that one more day would have killed her.

My wife fell on the curb on her way to Aqua Fit.  She couldn’t get up! She didn’t have her phone with her. She had to wait until a caring passing motorist and his wife stopped and helped her.

  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
  • Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
  • Each year at least 250,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
  • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Adjusted for inflation, the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion annually. 

What Can Happen After a Fall?

Many falls do not cause injuries. But one out of five falls does cause a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury. These injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live on their own.

  • Falls can cause broken bones, like wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures.
  • Falls can cause head injuries. These can be very serious, especially if the person is taking certain medicines (like blood thinners). An older person who falls and hits their head should see their doctor right away to make sure they don’t have a brain injury.
  • Many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear may cause a person to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling.

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