It is true that falls are the most common cause of traumatic injuries in individuals over 65. It's not true that there's nothing you can do about it. At FYZICAL balance & fall prevention centers, we use technology developed to rehabilitate astronauts from vestibular (inner ear) issues upon returning from space.
What is the connection between astronauts and age-related vestibular dysfunction? It's actually similar to inner ear dysfunction that occurs to young astronauts when their body stops using the information from their inner ear to inform their central nervous system where they are in space. The same thing occurs with aging. The best part of this discovery is that it is reversible regardless of age!
The old adage "use it or lose it" is absolutely at work here. A hospitalized patient who lays immobile for long periods of time needs rehabilitation to walk again. Fitness of the musculoskeletal system responds to use by building muscle mass and bone strength.
In the inner ear, there are organs that sense where you are in space through the action of the earth's gravitational force. As we age, we don't move around as much due to musculoskeletal issues. The connections in our brains between neurons diminish. This is part of the reason you could run up steps without looking in your youth. As you age, your body turns to the visual information to keep track of your position in space. Hence, older individuals are obliged to look at their feet while they move around.
My recommendation is not to quit the things you love to do because of fear of falling! Get up off the couch and seek out help at your closest FYZICAL balance center & Love your life (LYL)Carl Stephenson, MD
Tuscaloosa Ear, Nose & Throat
FYZICAL balance & fall prevention center of Tuscaloosa
In the elderly, one of the most common scenarios leading to a fall is getting up at night, when the lighting is low. There is minimal input coming to your brain about where you are in space, and falling in this scenario is quite common. The good news is regardless of age, neuroplasticity is present.
That is the biological process we depend on at FYZICAL balance & fall prevention centers to rehabilitate folks with imbalance. Once the intensive physical therapy work is done, we teach patients exercises that they can do at home to maintain the gains they experience in therapy.