Stay strong and mo­bile af­ter 65

Upper Hutt Leader - - CONVERSATIONS -

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.

Walk: Swim:

pre­pare your gar­den for the up­com­ing sea­son. get­ting in­volved in the com­mu­nity is a great way to ap­ply your wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence

Gar­den: Vol­un­teer:

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.

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