Stay strong and mobile after 65
Most people don’t feel ‘‘old’’ at 65 and want to stay well and independent for as long as they can.
Hanging up your boots is a metaphor for retirement, but for most people 65 years and over there’s still plenty of zest to continue leading an active life for many years to come. In fact, perhaps it’s this zest for life that gets us into trouble.
After 65, we have a 1-in-3 chance of having a fall and that increases to a 1-in-2 chance for those over 80. And if you’ve had a fall in the past, you are also more likely to fall again in the future. Maybe it’s our ‘‘she’ll be right’’ attitude or maybe we stop counting our birthdays at some point but we’re not invincible.
Don’t let this deter you from doing the things you love. The good news is there are plenty of small changes you can make that will prevent a fall and keep you on your feet. Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself, be it walking, swimming or light exercise at home. It can help build up your leg and core strength, which in turn will improve your balance and reduce your risk of a fall.
Getting out and about really does improve your quality of life and safeguard your independence. But where to start?
IDEAS FOR GETTING ACTIVE Dance:
there are lots of classes on YouTube or you could join a local class.
try parking a little further away and walking, take a stroll through your local park or walk your pet.
head to the pool with some friends and do an exercise class.
prepare your garden for the upcoming season. getting involved in the community is a great way to apply your wealth of experience
and skills to those around you. Find local organisations to support on Neighbourly.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE AT RISK OF A FALL
Consider the following questions to assess your risk: Are you over 65? Have you slipped, tripped or fallen in the last year?
Do you need to use your hands to get out of a chair?
Do you avoid activities due to a fear of falling? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you or your loved one will benefit from learning more about the Live Stronger for Longer movement and increasing your strength and balance.
Having good strength, balance and strong bones is key to staying on your feet. But if you have had a fall, or think you’re at risk of a fall, and can’t increase your strength and balance because of your physical limitations, talk to your GP or health professional as in-home support may be appropriate for you.
To find out where approved community strength and balance classes are in your area, and for more helpful advice and how to join the Live Stronger for Longer movement, visit livestronger.org.nz.
ACC, Ministry of Health and HQSC have created Live Stronger for Longer especially for over 65s and those who care for them.
Don’t let your age stop you from doing the things you love.