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A life of balance reduces falls among elderly

Published: 23 February 2018

The interest was great when Marscha Pauelsen and Irene Vikman, PhD student and researcher at Luleå University of Technology, talked about falls and fear of falling on Great Northern in Skellefteå. Over 70 people participated in the first lecture of the year within the initiative "The University presents in Skellefteå"

– 70 percent of the elderly are afraid to fall, but only 30 percent of people over 65 years old have fallen. If you worry, you become less active and get less physical ability, which increases the risk of falling, said Mascha Pauelsen, PhD student in Physiotherapy at Luleå University of Technology.

In addition to suffering for the individual, the accidents also cause major costs to society. A large part of the fall-related concerns can be explained by factors such as general fear of falling, life expectancy and physical ability, where a lower ability increases the fear, shows her study. 

The falls increase during the wintertime

Irene Vikman, Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Luleå University of Technology, told us how the length of daylight can play a role during the period of winter darkness. What it depends on is not clear, but factors that can play a part are the body's production of vitamin D and the sleep hormone melatonin, the weather or the darkness itself.

– Perhaps the length of daylight plays a part in our motion control. In our movement laboratory, we now have the opportunity to follow people over time to see how we live on these latitudes are affected, she said.

Balance and strength training have proven to be the most important components of preventive work, and Mascha Pauelsen also showed balance and strength exercises, which was appreciated by the audience.

Voting from audience

Photo: Linnea Lindberg

Margareta Normark, audience

Photo: Linnea Lindberg

Christer Johansson, Social Welfare Board, Skellefteå