Falls are the most common cause of traumatic injury from the sixth decade on.
One in three older people fall once every year.
10-15% of falls cause serious injury. Almost all cause significant psychological injury, ranging from embarrassment to curtailment of health-maintaining activities.
Why are older people predisposed to falls?
- Changes in the central nervous system – slower nerve conduction, slower reflex response
- Changes in the musculo-skeletal system – arthritis, decreased muscle mass — make older people stiffer and less coordinated
- Visual, hearing and memory impairments
- Decreased proprioception and vibration sense
- Drugs: some drugs – alcohol and prescription meds such as antihypertensives, sedatives, diuretics, autonomic meds – can cause falls; other drugs – particularly anticoagulants – can worsen the injuries of falls