In India, the senior population is expected to rise from 76.6 million people in 2006 to 173.1 million in 2026. This segment of the population faces various physical and psychological problems, one of the most serious of which – is falling. Serious falls are associated with a higher rate of mortality (especially when osteoporosis is present) and are a marker of poor physical and cognitive states. According to the World Health Organisation report, about one-fifth of all fall-related deaths happen in India. In this post, we discuss the important ways that we can help the elderly prevent falls.
Why do seniors in India fall?
Some of the most common reasons why seniors fall include arthritis, gait problems, being over 80, having visual issues, taking specific medication (including antiarrhythmic and psychiatric drugs), having experienced a previous fall, and cognitive impairment. Although they are common in both sexes, recent research conducted in Kerala State has found a higher rate of falls in elderly women living in long-term geriatric homes, compared to those living with family or in their community.
Solutions for seniors:
There are many approaches that can be taken to lower the risk of falls in the elderly. One is by reducing depression, which elevates the likelihood of falls. Researchers postulate that living in a geriatric home can reduce psychosocial health, yet seniors living at home can also feel isolated and anxious or depressed. One way to help elders feel safer and increase their self-confidence is wearable technology, which informs doctors of falls and also lets family members know if an emergency situation is at hand. Another is to make changes to seniors’ diets.
Why is protein important?
Muscles move our skeleton, but also serve as the stabilizers of our body. All our tissues are composed of proteins, which in turn consist of amino acids. To help boost muscle mass and strength, protein is vital, but timing is as important as quantity. A study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that spreading protein equally among the three daily meals is key for elderly people. The study followed 1,800 seniors for three years, reviewing their protein consumption patterns. They found that participants of both sexes who consumed protein in a balanced manner throughout the day had more muscle strength than those who consumed more protein-rich foods in the evening and less at breakfast.
There are additional steps we can take. Creating safer interiors and removing fall risks at home, ensuring seniors feel more secure through wearable technology, and dividing protein consumption equally into the main meals of the day, are just a few. With statistics showing that lifespans are steadily increasing, it is imperative to work to ensure that the elderly enjoy the best quality of life, free of the pain and psychological impact of falls.