Tai Chi Helps to Improve Balance & Avoid Falls!

Certainly, elderly people have an understandable fear of falling. Falling can result in hip fractures, broken limbs, hospital stays and more. A recent pilot project was done by Abby Bennett, RN, BSN and Nancy Bredenkapm, PhD, APRN to introduce tai chi to the people in an assisted living facility.

The facility had done one fall risk assessment on residents’ admission to the facility, but they had not done any further assessments related to falling. The tai chi classes were offered for eight weeks in one-hour biweekly sessions. Volunteers who went through the class evaluated how they felt with the Falls Efficacy Scale-International to see what changes occurred in their fear of falling.

The majority of participants felt that tai chi classes definitely had an impact on their balance. They enjoyed the classes and wanted them to continue. There was not a quantitative decrease in the fear of falling, but there was found to be a benefit to the participants who participated in the class.

As explained in the report:

“The facility personnel recommended that the pre-tai chi exercise program continue with the addition of simple tai chi exercises. In addition, screening for the risk of falls and the fear of falling beyond the initial screening when residents move in to the facility to extend to an annual assessment for all residents was encouraged. A better understanding of the effect of tai chi exercises on the fear of falling would be gained with increased participation and continuation of the program for a longer period.”