1 in 3 people over 65 will fall each year, rising to 1 in 2 over 80. A significant proportion will receive medical treatment.
A life-time of ingrained tension habits reduces balance, mobility and coordination in the elderly often resulting in painful falls. And nothing increases the chance of falling more than the fear of falling. It's a very real emotional response that increases rigidity in the postural muscles in an attempt to find stability. The irony is that you gain your stability through the inherent instability of the skeleton; it needs to be able to adjust and readjust at all times in order to stay upright. Otherwise it's like trying to stand a pencil on its end. A willow gains it's strength through its ability to bend in the wind. It's the same for you in gravity, you need to remain free to move, even in standing, which is itself, a movement activity. Any interference with this increases the chance of falling.
A new study by Lesley Glover and Jane Clappison at the University of Hull, and published in The European Journal of Integrative Medicine, has shown that the Alexander Technique helps with the fear of falling in older people and increases their mobility.
Research conducted by Glenna Batson and Sarah Barker at the University of South Carolina showed a remarkable improvement in Functional Reach (a clinical measure of balance) after just a two week trial period of the Alexander Technique in community dwelling elderly ages 60-89.
A more detailed study was performed by Ronald Dennis and published in Journal of Gerontology: MEDICAL SCIENCES which found that Alexander Technique instruction is effective in improving balance and thereby reducing the incidence of falls in normal older women.
The Alexander Technique has shown that balance can be improved and restored in the elderly and is suggested by NHS Choices. It's a very gentle process and a great way to restore overall coordination and confidence.