Senior care home residents may be at a higher risk of suffering a slip and fall accident that can have long-term negative health consequences. According to the results of a new study, when seniors are put through exercise programs that are specifically targeted at helping reduce the risk of falls, fall risks decrease.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland. Researchers at the facility’s School of Human Movement Studies found that when residents were put through an exercise program twice a week, only 42% suffered at least one fall. In contrast, 81% of participants in the group that did not have the benefit of exercise suffered a slip and fall accident.
According to the researchers, in Australia, the slip and fall accident rate among persons in residential care facilities for the elderly, is approximately 1.5 fall accidents per bed per year. The study was targeted at helping understand what types of exercise programs will help benefit seniors, and help prevent fall accidents. They found that seniors who participated in the twice weekly exercise programs were likely to become fitter, and therefore less likely to fall, compared to the seniors who did not participate in the exercise program.
However, there may also be other factors that affect a person’s chances of benefiting from exercise. For instance, the researchers pointed at the fact that persons in the two groups differed in their physical functioning, even before they participated in the exercise program.
There are a number of other studies that also point to the benefits of a structured exercise program in helping prevent falls involving the elderly. Typically, these exercise programs are focused on increasing balance, and strengthening coordination among seniors. The point is to increase internal strength and stability, so that seniors can more easily avoid fall hazards in their environment.