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Falls and Hip Fractures Among Older Adults

How serious are Falls and Hip problems?

Falls and hip problems are very serious. Falls occurring among the elderly is a serious problem that may be symptomatic of untreated chronic health conditions such as osteoporosis. In the United States, one of every three adults 65 years old or older falls each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among people 65 years and older.

Often, a fall with fracture is a frequent precursor to long term residence in a nursing home.

Where are people most likely to fall?

For adults 65 years old or older, most of fatal falls happen at home, about 30% occur in public places, and 10% occur in health care institutions.

What is the impact of hip fractures?

Hip fractures cause a great number of deaths and lead to the most severe health problems. About half of all older adults hospitalized for hip fractures cannot return home or live independently after their injuries.

Factors that increase older adults’ risk of falling

Some of the most common factors that contribute to falls are: problems with gait and balance, neurological and musculoskeletal disabilities, psychoactive medication use, dementia, and visual impairment.

Some other factors are: slippery surfaces, uneven floors, poor lighting, loose rugs, unstable furniture, and objects on floors.

Can falling be prevented?

It is difficult to totally prevent a fall. However, the risk of falling can be reduced. Some ways to reduce the risk of falling are:

  1. Maintain a regular exercise program.
  2. Make living areas safer.
  3. Ask their doctor to review all of their medicines in order to reduce side effects and interactions.
  4. Have an eye doctor check their vision each year.

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