Older people are also more likely to break bones which can seriously affect your health – in fact, 25 per cent of people aged over 69 who fracture their hip pass away within one year.
Now Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) has developed a world-first course to train older people to avoid falls.
The walkway in their Sydney gait lab exposes people to hidden slip and trip hazards – while strapped into a safety harness – so they learn to react better.
Unlike falls prevention training that involves balance exercises, such as standing on one leg, it’s designed for real-life situations and has just been trialled by a group of 50 volunteers aged over 65 years.
A new spring in your step
NeuRA is also developing step training games – similar to video games like Tetris and Space Invaders – that people can play with their feet to improve their strength and balance.
Senior Principal Research Fellow at NeuRA, Professor Stephen Lord tells us: “We all get to a stage where we get weaker and our vision can be impaired, but the good thing is you can do something about it – and you might not even have to do it very often.”
Hip protectors – a tip from Jill: these are commonly used in aged care homes to protect residents if they suffer a fall. Studies have shown they can reduce the rate of hip fractures so they really do work! You can purchase them online or at pharmacies to wear at home too. They are available for both men and women and can even be built into underwear or pants.