Paper Title
Independent Training for Stability and Functional Capacity for Elderly Women Living in a Retirement Community: A Fall Prevention Strategy

Introduction: With compromised strength, flexibility, and reaction time, elderly are higher risk of falling which frequently result in injury, health problems, reduced quality of life, and premature death. Purpose: Balance exercises can be effective in increasing stability, thus a factor in fall prevention. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of non-supervised, independent static balance training on balance. Methods: A total of 22 females (81.8 ±5.8 yrs) residing in a senior retirement centre were randomly assigned to an experimental group or a control group. Assessments included: 30-Second Chair Stand Test (CST) repetitions, Timed 8-ft Up and Go Test (TUG), and the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). The experimental group engaged in standing, static balancing and mild leg exercises approximately 15 minutes per session, 3x/wk for 11 weeks. All exercises were done while secured within an aluminium cage independent of spotters. The control group was given fall prevention literature and both groups continued their group exercises consisting of stretching and rhythmic activities in the seated position. Results: Pre- and post-test results before and after the 11-week intervention yielded significant (p<0.05) improvement for the Experimental group over the Control group in the 30-Second Chair Test repetitions, in the Timed 8-ft Up and Go Test, and in the Berg Balance Scale. Conclusion: Static balance exercises conducted independently without safety supervision led to improvements in balance, and functional ability in elderly women. The experimental group improved BBS falling risk from high to moderate following unattended intervention allowing staff to tend to other duties. Keywords - Elderly, Falls, Stability, Balance, Training