Older Adults, Healthy Ageing & Chiropractic
Research is showing that chiropractic care can really make a difference to your health, function, and quality of life as you age.
Some of the challenges of getting older include memory loss and difficulty in carrying out tasks of daily living such as dressing, bathing, or cooking. Due to the decline in nervous system function that often accompanies ageing, many older people also experience an increased rate of falls.1 And although getting old may appear like an inevitable downward progression, there is actually something you can do about it - it’s called healthy ageing. Your choices and actions can postpone or even reduce some of the undesirable effects of the ageing process.
Healthy ageing focuses on maintaining mental and physical health and avoiding disease so that you can maintain independence and quality of life. Healthy ageing can feel like a big investment in your health, but the returns are rewarding and can restore some control over your health and life. Chiropractic care can support older people with healthy ageing by helping them maintain and improve their overall function. 2 3
A recent study focused on whether chiropractic care may help older adults improve their function in a way that could decrease their risk of falling.2 This randomised controlled trial compared 12 weeks of chiropractic care to a usual care control in 60 older adults. After 12 weeks the group who received chiropractic care had become better able to know where their ankle joint was when they closed their eyes. They were able to take a step much faster than the control group, they could simultaneously process visual and auditory information more accurately in their brains, and they also felt better than the control group after 12 weeks of chiropractic care. This means they were better able to control and move their bodies in response to potential hazards which may reduce their risk of falling. On top of that they felt that their quality of life had improved after the chiropractic care as well.
Functional ability refers to a person’s ability to carry out basic tasks of everyday life.5 These can be divided into basic activities of daily living, which include bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, transferring, and walking across the room; and instrumental activities of daily living, which include taking medications, using the phone, handling finances, housekeeping, cooking, shopping, and using transportation.1 Due to an age-related decline in physical and cognitive function for many people it can become difficult to carry out these tasks as they get older.3 Slowing the rate of functional decline in older adults preserves their autonomy and well-being.
Research suggests that chiropractic care enhances sensorimotor function associated with falls risk.2 Chiropractic care can help older people to be more active, more independent, more healthy, and to feel better.2 3 For some older people chiropractic care can truly give them their life back!
1. Tinetti & Kumar. JAMA 2010;303(3):258-66. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.2024
2. Holt, et al. JMPT 2016 doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.02.003
3. Weigel, et al. JMPT 2014;37(3):143- 54. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.12.009
4. Haavik & Murphy. JMPT. Feb 2011;34(2):88-97.
5. Wiener, et al. J Gerontol 1990;45(6):S229-37.
6. Milte & Crotty. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 2014;28(3):395-410. doi: 0.1016/j.berh.2014.07.005