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Thursday 27th June 2019

Tai Chi prevents elderly falls

13th January 2011

Experts say that Tai Chi lessons and reduced medication should be used to prevent falls in the elderly.

walking stick1

British researchers, working with US counterparts, have published this new thinking on helping tackle falls in elderly in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Evidence shows that more than 30% of people aged 65 and around half of those over 80 suffer a fall each year. Treatment costs the NHS in England £4.6m a day.

With an estimated 14,000 people dying as a result of falls in the UK every year, it is the main cause of death for older people.

Researchers from the British and American Geriatrics Societies examined findings and medical research since the 2001 guidelines and have issued updated advice.

This includes exercises to improve strength and balance, such as Tai Chi.

Andrew Harrop, director of policy and public affairs at Age UK, said: “Currently there are large variations in the quality of falls prevention services provided across the UK and it is crucial that these guidelines are put into practice to ensure that future falls are prevented.

“With research showing that programmes for improving strength and balance can reduce the risk of falls by as much as 55%, the recommendation that interventions for preventing falls should include an exercise component is particularly welcome.”

Medication such as antidepressants and sleeping tablets are often linked with falls and the new guidance suggests these should no longer be prescribed, or the dose reduced, along with steps to raise low blood pressure and cataract surgery.


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