March is Nutrition Month and a great opportunity to look at ways that good nutrition contributes to fall prevention in older adults. Athletes are usually careful about what they eat. They want to create and maintain stamina and strength so to that end, quality food and appropriate vitamins contribute to their overall performance. However, the toll of aging causes many older adults to lose their endurance and muscle strength.
Loss of muscle mass is an overall predictor of health status and can lead to diminished strength and reduced activity levels. This can contribute to frailty, mobility issues and loss of physical function and independence. And yes, it will contribute to falls. Studies have shown that only 15% of older adults will consume 75% of the protein required to maintain good muscle mass and strength. In addition, vitamin D has been shown to impact muscle strength. So the combination of low protein and low vitamin D can contribute to the much greater risk of falling.
Good nutrition and exercise, even walking or chair yoga, will help older adults remain strong and independent. These activities plus an annual fall prevention home safety assessment will reduce the risks and subsequent effects of falls in 1/3 of Americans over 65 who fall every year.
A senior home safety assessment conducted by a trained Age Safe America advisor will identify the fall risks in a home and make on-the-spot recommendations for safety and home modifications for aging-in-place. Improved lighting, reduced tripping hazards, simple warning devices may be among the good ideas for your home. Age Safe America advisors understand that “a fall changes everything” for an individual and their family members.
The opportunity to facilitate fall prevention and aging-in-place home modifications in your local community is just one way to enhance the quality of the lives of older adults and reduce the worry and stress on family members. Visit AgeSafeAmerica.com to find out how to bring positive change to your community.
Age Safe. Live Well.™