A new program helps seniors—and others—build bone density and functional strength, meaning, for many, it’s easier to get through the day.
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Pratfalls struck our funny bones long before Rob Petrie tumbled over the ottoman, but no bone is funny when it’s broken.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death in adults 65 and older, sending one senior to the emergency room every 18 seconds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With another baby-boomer turning 65 every seven seconds, the number of people at risk of falling is growing fast.
“The aging population needs to understand that they’re going to enter a stage of functional decline,” says Dr. Greg Ellis, of Temple University School of Medicine. “Before they know it, age 60 and 70 will be upon them, and they’re going to start falling, but not many of them are doing anything about it.”
A local health center has an answer: StandStrong Clinics, which help people grow stronger, which increases their bone density, so that they might avoid catastrophic falls.
Ellis has researched the topic extensively. He says loss of strength and balance often leads to a fall and loss of freedom for an older person. Half of those hospitalized after a fall never return to independent living. Half of those who lie on the floor for more than an hour after a fall die within six months, even when there is no injury.
Nearly half of the older adult population lacks the physical capacity to get up without help. Marge Yearsley, 74, of Hockessin, was one of them until recently, when she began training at the new StandStrong Clinic at the Hockessin Athletic Club.
“For the first time in years, I can get off the floor using my own arm and body strength,” says Yearsley, who now enjoys playing on the floor with her grandchildren without the worry of getting back up. And Chris Albertus, 58, of Newark is mowing her lawn again—something she enjoys but hadn’t been able to do for many years. For six months following a bad fall in 2002, Albertus didn’t walk unless necessary. Until enrolling in StandStrong, she could do nothing physical except her work as a massage therapist.
Page 2: Boning Up, continues...