Falls In Elderly And Seniors

Single Limb Stance With Arm

Falls in elderly occur with 35% to 45% of seniors each year. This is generally due to  age-related declines in our reaction times, along with reduced strength and flexibility in our muscles.

Below I have made a great balance video that is fun and easy to do. All you need is a chair, comfortable loose fitting clothing,  and a pair of smooth bottom shoes to wear so you won’t catch your feet.

Read on then give it a try. Other causes can be due to the environment and activities around the home. I can’t tell you how many times I have helped someone for a broken wrist or arm because they fell in the backyard while working in the garden. It’s the hoses fault, don’t you know! Silly hose!

That silly hose is always in the darnedest spot. (Usually across the sidewalk!) To help with falls in elderly try balance exercises that work on strengthening our legs and arms and increase our range of motion.

In that way we will help reduce the risk of falls. In our video below we work on standing on one leg while at the same time introducing arm movement.

In this exercise we are picking up the pace little with a more advanced exercise. Remember with this exercise it is important to always start by placing a chair in front of you for support until you are comfortable without one.

I think it is a good practice to have a chair to hold on to even when your balance improves. The last place you want to be is on the kitchen floor.

Practice makes…


Remember, “practice makes….. permanent!”. So don’t practice sitting in a chair, unless you want to get good at sitting in a chair. Get up and challenge your balance system.Y ou can do it!

Every day make it a point to practice a little more to prevent falls in elderly people. Slowly, more switches will turn on in your brain and your balance will improve.You may not even hold on to that counter as you go by. Think of it!

Purpose of this exercise

This exercise improves our static or “standing” balance. Improves our leg, hip and arm strength. Orients us to maintaining our center of gravity over our ankles.

Step 1

Stand with feet together and arms at sides. Hold on to a chair with your right hand for support if needed.


Step 2

Raise your left arm overhead. Then raise your left leg off the floor.Hold for 10 seconds.Then repeat for the right side.



Breathe normally, inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth.


Use a chair as a place to not only perform seated exercise but also to hold on to while standing. Hold on with your finger,one hand or two hands.

Take it up a notch

Don’t close your eyes or hold your breath. Lift chest and look straight ahead to make standing more challenging. Try adding a one pound ankle weight or a one pound wrist weight.

How to do Single Limb Stance with Arms

How to do Single Limb Stance with Arms

More Balance Exercises

1. Single limb stance

  • A great place to begin is with the simplest standing balance exercise. Hold on to a chair and balance on one leg.
  • This is a great place to begin to feel your center of gravity over your ankles. This is your goal, maintaining your center over your ankles.
  • Try a few seconds balancing on each foot. Work up to a minute if you can. Then begin to hold on with one hand, then one finger and finally try to let go completely.

2. Eye tracking

  • Move on to the other exercises with static standing exercises as you gain confidence including this exercise which targets your vision and vestibular system.
  • This exercise can sometimes make you dizzy. If this happens, stop the exercise. Try it again with smaller head movements next time.
  • Gradually you will learn to do it correctly.

3. Clock reach

  • Make sure to hold on to a chair when attempting this exercise to prevent falls in the elderly. Don’t reach back too far if you have pain in your shoulder.
  • (Use your one pound wrist weight here to increase your workout.)

4. Staggered stance

  • Also hold on to a chair when trying this exercise for elderly balance problems. Let go of the chair for a few seconds at a time if you feel comfortable.

5. Single limb with arm

  • Look up from your feet when balancing and pick a spot at eye level in front of you to improve falls in elderly. Lift your chest and bring your shoulders back.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth

6. Balancing wand

  • This is a fun exercise and easy to do. Use a cane, broom or even an umbrella.  Don’t have too much fun with these balance exercises for elderly!

7. Knee marching

  • Try this one next to a counter so you can hold on when performing knee marching. This is also a great cardio exercise and for leg muscle weakness.

8. Body circles

  • This exercise for improving balance can be a little tricky. Keep a chair nearby if you are uncomfortable without one.  Make sure your knees and hips are kept straight when you circle.

9. Heel to toe

  • The moving exercises are the most difficult. Only try this balance exercise when you have become good at the preceding exercises.
  • (If you have masking or painters tape, place an 8 to 12 foot piece in a straight line on the carpet or floor. This will allow you to maintain a straighter line when performing the walking exercises.)

10. Grapevine

  • Seniors who dance will be more familiar with these balance exercises. Try it in your kitchen holding on to the counter.
  • Walk several steps in one direction, turn around and walk back. Continue for several minutes. Gradually hold on less and less until you can take a few steps without holding on.
  • It may take a while, but keep practicing…you’ll get it sooner or later!

11. Stepping

  • This series of stepping exercises are very challenging. You may have a stable family member demonstrate these for you first.

12. Dynamic walking

  • Try these only when you feel confident and have a helper in the home.
  • Give them a try when you are stronger and more sure of yourself. These exercises are great to do with someone else.
  • Holding hands with a stable family member will make these exercises easier and safer. (This is where you may use your pad of paper or a small book when walking.)

Resources Prevent Falls