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What Does & Doesn’t Help Prevent Falls in the Elderly

What Does & Doesn’t Help Prevent Falls in the Elderly

Falling presents a serious health risk for the elderly. Thirty-three percent of adults over age 65 fall every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the senior population, falls top the rankings of injury-related death and are the most frequent cause of hospital trauma admission.

There are steps seniors and their caregivers can take to decrease the danger presented by falls.

A recent analysis of 159 separate studies on fall prevention in the elderly sheds some light on what existing research has to say on how to help a senior stay steady on their feet.

What works:

  • Exercise: Seniors who engaged in varied workouts (combining endurance, flexibility, balance, and strength) experienced a 15 percent decrease in their risk for falling. Tai Chi was also a beneficial exercise. The Chinese martial art was linked to a 28 percent decline in risk of falls in the elderly.
  • Having a doctor double-check meds: Programs aimed at weaning older adults off of certain prescriptions that may make them more prone to falling (anti-anxiety meds, sleep-inducers, and anti-depressants), appeared to cut down on their fall risk.
  • Correcting physical problems: Surgeries such as cataract correction and pacemaker implantation effectively decreased falls in seniors suffering from certain eye and heart conditions.
  • A home safety check-up: Having an occupational therapist evaluate and modify a senior’s home slashed their fall rate by 19 percent.

What doesn’t work:

  • Vitamin D supplements: Suggesting supplements didn’t appear to have a statistically significant effect on seniors in general when it comes to fall prevention, though study authors say that those who suffer from a serious vitamin deficiency may benefit from supplementation.
  • Education alone: Educating the elderly on the dangers of falls and how to prevent them didn’t help when nothing else was done to follow-up (i.e. no accompanying exercise program).

Check out the Mobility and Falls section for more information on how to help your loved one stay upright and injury-free.

Foiling Falls: What Works and What Doesn’t originally appeared on

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Read more: Aging, Caregiving, Health, Healthy Aging, , , , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

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+ add your own
6:33AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Thanks for the info.

2:23AM PDT on Aug 13, 2013

Thank you :)

5:11PM PDT on Aug 12, 2013


8:21AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thank you for sharing

7:19AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

thanks. good advise.

3:02PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Tai chi

3:01PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Be safe..

11:42AM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

Thank you for the tips.

9:56AM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

good specific advice: Tai Chi for balance and strength is good advice.

12:44AM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

I will check with my local senior center for the schedule of Tai Chi classes and get started, even if it means I have to give up some of my communication on Care2.
I've always admired the grace and fluidity of the Tai Chi movements, now no more excuses even if I have to get up earlier than usual.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

So Californian

Thank you for sharing.

Congratulations everyone.


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