Fall Risks and the Elderly

Falls are a marker of frailty, immobility, and acute and chronic health impairment in older persons. Falls in turn diminish function by causing injury, activity limitations, fear of falling, and loss of mobility. Most injuries in the elderly are the result of falls; fractures of the hip, forearm, and pelvis.
Prevention of falls is the key without unnecessarily compromising quality of life and independence. Elderly individuals with multiple health impairments are at greatest risk, but many healthy older persons also fall each year.
.Falls with certain initiating characteristics (e.g., loss of consciousness, stroke) are often excluded from the definition of falls in older persons.
In 1986, there were 8,313 deaths from falls reported in the U.S. for persons aged 65 and older, making falls the leading cause of death from injury in the elderly. By age 85, approximately two-thirds of all reported injury-related deaths are due to falls. Older men are more likely than older women to die from a fall. Some studies suggest that falls in the frail elderly, especially falls with a long waiting time on the ground after a fall before help arrives are associated with increased mortality

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