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The Most Common Reason That Older Adults Fall Down

The good news: It's possible to avoid potentially devastating falls. As we age, our sense of balance sometimes can betray us. The best way to avoid potentially devastating falls is to prioritize staying balanced and to avoid tasks that steal our focus from where it needs to be. In fact, “dual-tasking” — standing or walking while also performing a separate mental or physical task — is the No. 1 source of falls for older adults, according to Brad Manor, an associate scientist at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. As we grow older, simple tasks such as standing and walking require greater levels of cognitive effort as our senses and muscle strength begin to fade. As we spend more cognitive effort on those tasks, it steals away resources from controlling our body’s center of mass over our feet. Falls are often the result.
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