The biggest fear among seniors and their children/caretakers is falling. Reducing the risk of a fall requires a global approach that starts by addressing your senior’s physical surroundings to eliminate potential hazards. Even more essential is creating a wellness program whereby seniors sustain a health level where they can maintain their coordination and balance.
“Exercise is more essential for seniors than perhaps any other age group,” said Dr. Michael Gottfried, president of the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island and chiropractic practitioner at Aquidneck Chiropractic in Middletown, Rhode Island. “Otherwise, an individual may set him or herself up for broken bones, circulation problems caused by atrophying blood vessels, and a myriad of other physical problems associated with aging.
Adds Dr. Gottfried, "Exercise, however, can improve a person's mobility, which will minimize the likelihood of a fall and reduce their anxiety—another contributing factor to senior falls.”
Exercise programs for senior can be as basic as walking in place or short distances. Walking as little as one third of a mile per day can deliver many benefits, such as improved elasticity in blood vessels. Improved elasticity makes blood vessels less susceptible to the formation of aneurysms or rupture.
Tai chi is especially useful for improving balance and preventing falls. In fact, studies have shown tai chi to reduce falls in seniors by up to 45 percent. A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found the program particularly effective for balance in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Simple stretching programs can also be invaluable to overall wellness that prevents falls. Some basic stretches seniors can do include stretch the groin muscles by sitting on the floor and bending one leg to the side and back as far as possible. Or sitting Indian fashion on a cushion and watch television. A relaxed stretch is the goal.
Another easy stretch for seniors is stretching the back leg muscles by putting your hands on a wall, one foot flat on the floor behind you. Then lean into the wall. Or stand up straight and bend over. Or sit with one foot on an ottoman and bend forward.
More and more seniors are utilizing chiropractic care as a preventative measure against falls. Some of the ways seniors can benefit from chiropractic include: pain relief, increased range of motion, increased balance and coordination, decreased joint degeneration, increased health and well being, and decreased incidence of falling.
“Many seniors experience problems related to misalignment of the spine and can really benefit from chiropractic care,” said Dr. Gottfried. “While there are many myths regarding the safety of chiropractic care, in reality this type of medical treatment is very effective and quite safe, particularly in comparison to alternative treatments such as surgery and drug therapy.”
If you are a senior or caring for a senior and interested in learning more about the benefits of chiropractic care, visit www.richiro.org or call 401-207-0700. To find a chiropractor near you, can utilize the “Find A Doctor” feature on the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island’s website, www.richiro.org.
About Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island (CSRI)
Founded in 1918, CSRI is one of the oldest chiropractic associations in the United States and represents more than 25 percent of the chiropractic physicians in the Ocean State. In addition to providing a regional voice for chiropractors in the business and legislative arenas, CSRI also helps educate the general public on the benefits of chiropractic. Those all-natural benefits can include relief from headaches, asthma, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel, colic, and stress, just to name a few. Olympic ski champion Picabo Street, NFL legend Jerry Rice and Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman are but a few notable celebrities who have embraced chiropractic.
The Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island is located at 1272 West Main Road, Building 2, Middletown, RI 02842. For more information, call (401) 207-0700 or visit www.RIchiro.org.