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Exercises to Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries in Seniors

San Francisco, California — Regular low-impact exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga, and water workouts can significantly reduce the risk of dangerous falls among older adults. 

Falls are the primary cause of injury and death from injury among seniors in the U.S., with over 25% of individuals aged 65 and older experiencing a fall annually.

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open reveals that around 13% of older adults have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past two decades, predominantly due to falls. 

Injuries often occur during everyday activities,” notes Erica Kornblith, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Regular exercise is highlighted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force as a crucial strategy for fall prevention. While aging naturally leads to muscle mass decline, conditions like sarcopenia exacerbate this loss, affecting balance and reaction times. Common household hazards, such as slippery floors and poor lighting, further increase the risk of falls for seniors.

Chronic health conditions and medications can also impair mobility, with diabetes and cardiovascular disease contributing to sensory and motor function loss. 

Kathleen Cameron, senior director at the National Council on Aging, emphasizes the importance of balancing medication risks and benefits to mitigate side effects like dizziness and confusion.

Preventative measures include home safety assessments by physical or occupational therapists, and installing nonslip mats, grab bars, and motion-sensing lights. 

Despite resistance to lifestyle changes, early interventions and community support are essential for fall prevention among seniors. 

Cameron advocates for intergenerational awareness to promote long-term healthy habits.

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