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Lockdowns increasing the likelihood of falls in older Australians

From the Australian Physiotherapy Association

Older Australians are at risk of life-threatening falls and other serious health impacts after months of COVID-19 confinement and loss of mobility, says the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA).

In its submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality Investigation into the Impact of COVID-19 on Aged Care, APA physiotherapists  reported an increase of up to 30 per cent in the number of falls leading to hospitalisation, as well as increased occurrence of pressure sores.  

The APA’s submission included case studies in which residents’ movements and quality of life were significantly restricted, including: 

  • eating meals in their rooms which removed important incremental exercise and social opportunities (walking to the dining room three times a day) 

  • not being able to leave their rooms at all

  • being denied access to other areas of the facilities normally available to them

  • cancellation of group exercise classes

  • quarantined in rooms after returning from external medical appointments and hospital visits

  • regular health treatments, such as physiotherapy, denied during quarantine periods

  • receiving less one-on-one support from care staff who were diverted to infection control

  • loss of visitations from family and friends due to facility lockdowns.

“While obviously important, increased infection control measures and cleaning regimes have led to an acceleration in the physical, mental and emotional decline of many residents. There needs to be equal priority given to the primary healthcare needs of these residents to ensure they maintain a level of independence,” said APA National President Phil Calvert.

“Sadly, the removal of normal activities over a period of several months has had a significant impact on the physical and mental health of older Australians. We are already seeing increased pressure sores and falls."

Do you feel your lack of movement due to lockdowns has diminished your balance, putting you at incrteased risk of falls?


I have definitely felt the lack of exercise. I live in a 1 bed unit and have confined myself to the

supermarket and the garden. I feel stiff and old. But safer. Which is better? You still have to live

I suppose, not hibernate. But if you are out and about, and you sneeze or cough you get stared

at something awful. I felt like Typhoid Mary, it was only hayfever, I was near the flower stand.

Well, not much choice these days but to hibernate, even though I live in (so far) virus free, rural

SA. Good luck one and all, stay safe and healthy.

No, I am quite happy and I do what I can when the pain allows,  which is sweet BA most of the time -- but being in ISO does not bother me one bit

I live in a retirement village and we are not allowed access to communal areas. Nor are there any of our normal exercise classes. I have noticed that neighbours are struggling, physically and mentally. Although there are no stipulations by management regarding activities or socialising outside the village, where we could associate with anyone. We are not allowed have our art group meetings, where we follow the social distancing and sanitiser rules and have only a small group. I can't understand, things don't add up at all.


I think in your place, Inquisitive, I would be complaining, in writing, to My Aged Care, Scomo, my MP and the newspapers.  As deadly as this virus can be there is a limit to what people are able to stand and this kind of deprevation of liberty borders on elder abuse.

I think it is sinister.  It’s so easy to say “elderly are vulnerable so keep them locked up.”   It has a trickle down effect so care homes, etc can take an easy way out and ban people from leaving their rooms or socialising.  Very wrong in my opinion as they are living in a share house which means they can eat together and live together.  At the moment people in care homes are being treated very much like Hitler controlled Jewish people in Germany.

Inquisitive is not ina Aged Care Home, she lives in a Retirement Village and can come and go as he or she pleases. Keeping people safe from contracting or spreading COVID is not Elder Abuse.

Sadly many people do not know how important exercise and proper food are to health.

Just because you are in lockdown does not mean you cannot exercise

but if your food supply is of a poor quality unfortunately your healt condition will deteriorate.