Aging and physical frailty in our society can be seen at every hand. Have you noticed a change in your aging parents or even a change in yourself? If not then possibly you are not looking. Maybe you are not as bouncy, not as strong, reflexes slowing; balance a little off, etc. Possibly a little worry about falls or accidents lurks in your sub- conscious mind. If so you are normal and merely displaying common sense.
One of most common injuries sustained in a fall is fracture of hip. In case one thinks this is no big deal consider this: The one-year mortality rate for surgical hip fracture in elderly is a whopping 25% to 30%! (Reference "Ferri's Clinical Advisor", WB Saunders.) None of us wants to play a round of Russian roulette with odds like that.
There are five main factors in falls in elderly: 1.Environmental hazards 2.Unawareness of danger 3.Medication side effects 4.Osteoporosis (softening of bones) 5.Generalized physical frailty
First obvious is addressed. Scour living quarters for hazards and pitfalls and eliminate them. The bathroom is particularly dangerous especially slippery surfaces. Protect these and provide handrails. Watch that non-slip mat doesn't become more slippery than surface it is covering, this happens.
Educate individuals involved as to possibility of fall and dangers and hazards.
Review medication for possible side effects conducive to falls.
Prevent and treat osteoporosis that makes bones more likely to fracture.
Lastly we address subject of this article, physical frailty. Is this decline an inevitable consequence of aging? Yes, it is. Can it be avoided? Well, not entirely but fortunately it can be slowed and minimized because a significant part of it is due to disuse!
Any human faculty or ability, mental or physical, can be strengthened by training or repeated use. Conversely, any faculty can and is weakened by neglect and infrequent use.