What would you do with an extra 15 years?

Happy Healthy Aging & Fall Prevention Awareness Month! At Bold, we care deeply about these two things - which is why co-founder Amanda Rees is sharing her thoughts on fall prevention and how it can create a better future for us all.

It’s no secret, and hasn’t been for a long time, that people are living longer than they ever have before. 

In 1960, the average life expectancy in the U.S. wasn’t even 70 years. The average life expectancy in 2060 in the U.S.? That’s expected to be 85.6 years.

It’s amazing that the quality of our healthcare has improved so much - thanks to innovations like vaccines, cancer treatment and increasing investment in social determinants of health, among others. 

But in 2060 - what do those extra 15 years or so really look like? For the 101 million people over age 65? 

I can’t predict 2060, but I do know what’s happening in 2021. We now know that one in three adults over the age of 65 falls at least once a year. We also know that falls are the number one injury in older adults, and lead to three million emergency room visits each year. AND (and perhaps most importantly) - we now know that exercise is the most effective way to reduce the risk of falls. 

So how do we connect the dots between falls and exercise - so that those extra 15 years for so many people are the best they can be?

Many people have shared with Bold that they feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about falls. I should know. When I lived with my grandmother as her caregiver, she had some scary falls while I was at work. I tried to find at-home exercise programs she could do that would help her avoid falling again, but to my astonishment there wasn’t a lot out there.  

Sure, there have always been options like driving to a senior center for in-person instruction, or researching your own exercises and crafting a routine. But why shouldn’tall groups of people be afforded the privilege of being able to exercise at-home in a safe way - on their own schedules? We all have our own lives and things going on, no matter our age. 

In my research I also found that a lot of the class content and exercises didn’t target improving balance specifically. Yes, any exercise is fantastic - you will never hear me disagree with that. But exercises that help people feel more steady on their feet after getting out of a chair, or more confident walking across the lawn? That’s even better. 

Fortunately, I have never felt more positive than I do now about the future of preventative healthcare, and especially fall prevention. Thanks to my co-founder, Hari Arul, and our amazing team at Bold, we’re changing the conversation around healthy aging. I couldn’t be more proud of the tens of thousands of individuals we’ve been able to help through our platform, and the health systems we are continuing to partner with to deliver physical activity to millions of people. 

I have a lot of ideas around healthy aging and how Bold can make an impact. But fall prevention is at the top of the list, and my hope is the work we’re doing today creates the best future for all of us.