Fall prevention programs and their impact on social isolation for older adults

There is increasing consensus that social isolation is not only depressing for older adults, it’s also deadly.  Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by  26 percent*, and is as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day**. You might not make an immediate connection between fall prevention and social isolation, but not only are they linked, fall prevention programs can have a dramatic impact on loneliness and social isolation.

One of the key causes of social isolation is fear of falling. If an older adult is worried about falling, they go out less, or even stop going out altogether. This stands to reason – if you are worried about having a catastrophic fall every time you leave the house, you’re going to think twice about going out.

So fall prevention programs can have a significant impact not just on falls, but also on helping alleviate social isolation.  Confidence gained from improved balance links directly to likelihood of going to that dinner with friends, family gatherings, a play or the movies.

When people are no longer fearful of falling, they live fuller lives

This creates a virtuous cycle  – improved balance reduces fear, which increases how much an older adult is willing to go out, and every time they go out, the exercise involved in dealing with the “real-world” helps improve balance as well.

This is true in Senior Living Communities even when a resident is surrounded by other residents.  Fear of falling and lead to social isolation because residents stop going to events and meals. Improved balance will lead to more participation in Community events. So when looked at community wide, a community with better balance will have less social isolation because residents will choose to participate in more activities. Fall prevention programs have positive impact on the lives of everyone in the community.

If you are running a Senior Living Community, it makes sense to implement a fall prevention program for many reasons, social isolation being just one. If you would like to explore how to set up a successful fall prevention program in your community, we invite you to a free webinar that discusses the science behind fall prevention and how to implement it in your comunity.

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Reference
*http://www.ahsw.org.uk/userfiles/Research/Perspectives%20on%20Psychological%20Science-2015-Holt-Lunstad-227-37.pdf
** http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316