Caring for & Living with Dementia: Tips & Resources

Fall Prevention 101 – Build Muscles

Yes, you must have been waiting for this issue since I had been asking you to look out for it in my previous articles! After talking to so many older adults, I found out that retaining their ability to move about independently is one of the most common and important wishes among the older adults as they age. Some of them shared about friends tripping over and breaking bones as a result of “weak muscles”. Our muscles are our body’s only tissue with the ability to contract. Its contraction and relaxation brought about movements in the other parts of our body like the puppet master pulling the strings of his puppet. And, ageing affects its ability to contract properly. In addition to enabling our movements, muscles also help us maintain our upright body posture and body position, thus, facilitating our balance. As we age, changes in our muscles tissues affect our posture and the way we walk, consequently resulting in slower movement, poorer balance, and higher fall risk.  Yes, muscles are one of the main players in our body to help us prevent fall. Seniors with hunched backs, like Jack Neo’s “Liang PoPo” (those of you who are at least as ‘young’ as I am will know about “”Liang PoPo”), do experience more difficulties in their ability to perform activities of daily living including standing up from a chair, in addition to slower walking speed and poorer balance – causing them to have higher risk for falls (Katzman, W. B., et al. 2010).

The bad news is that we tend to lose our muscles tissues as we age. The good news is that muscles can be strengthened and toned to slow down, prevent, and may even reverse the loss. Toned muscles improves balance, coordination and posture, which is one sure way of preventing fall.

What exercises an older adult do to strengthen and tone their big muscles groups as part of fall prevention?

The following infographics presents you with a few strengthening exercises that will kick-start your muscles toning journey. All these exercises can be done while sitting down.

Caregivers, some of you may need to demonstrate the exercises to your loved one with dementia. It will be wonderful if you do it together with them as it can be a good bonding time with music and fun, at the same time you are building your muscles too.

Have Fun and build muscles! Music please…