Research Articles – Fall Prevention

High-quality review finds that exercise
is one of the best ways to prevent falls in older adults

Falls are one of the biggest problems faced by older adults, as about 36% of individuals over age 65 will experience a fall every year. This is why it’s so important to identify methods that are effective for preventing falls in older persons. There are many prevention methods available, but it’s not clear which ones are best, so researchers performed a high-quality review of numerous studies to answer this question. Overall, findings showed that the most effective intervention for reducing the risk of and number of falls in the elderly population was exercise. Other interventions like dietary and home-based modifications, vision assessments, orthotics and supplements may also be helpful, but older adults at risk for falling are encouraged to visit a physical therapist for an exercise treatment program.

Two exercise programs may be effective for
reducing the risk of falls in older men

As individuals grow older, several changes occur that are considered risk factors for falling, such as decreases in balance, control of posture, muscle strength and changes in walking performance. For this reason, prevention strategies are needed to address these risk factors and lower the risk for falls in the elderly community. Two intereventions that are often recommended for these types of exercise programs are aerobic training and resistance exercises, which are used to increase strength. Despite the evidence available on aerobic and resistance exercises, it’s not completely clear if combining the two of them is any more effective than each one of them individually, and a study was therefore conducted to evaluate this combination. Results showed that both aerobic and resistance exercises on their own were more effective than no exercise for reducing risk factors for falls such as balance, posture control, mobility and leg strength. However, combining these two interventions was even more effective for reducing these risk factors. Based on these findings, it appears that either an aerobic or resistance exercise program can be effective for reducing the risk of falls in older men, but combining both of them is even more beneficial and may serve an important role in addressing this significant danger.

Adding elastic bands to physical therapy program improves several physical
features in older adults and may reduce their risk for falls

Falls remain a major problem in the elderly population, and the risk of falling increases with older age. This is why it’s so important to develop strategies that will reduce the risk for falls. Exercise programs are commonly used to address this problem, and elastic bands in particular can be very helpful for the elderly since they are portable, inexpensive and easy to use. For this reason, a study was conducted to determine if elastic bands could improve balance and other physical features in order to lower fall risk in the elderly population. Results showed that participants who used elastic resistance bands reported better overall scores for balance, flexibility, fear of falling and gait ability than those who did not. This shows adding these bands to a physical therapy program may help to reduce the risk and fear of falling in the elderly. Using this type of program can therefore help to build confidence in older adults and may in time lower the overall rate of falls.

Recent review highlights the importance of
exercise to reduce falls in older adults

Falls are a major problem for adults who are 65 and older, since about 35% of individuals in this age group fall each year. Falls are the main cause of injury, disability and death in this older population, and they can lead to many long-term complications. In addition to the physical toll that suffering a fall can have, it can also affect mental wellbeing and reduce quality of life. Although many recommendations are given in an effort to reduce falls, even greater efforts are needed. For this reason, an updated review was performed on all the best available evidence on the topic. Some of the most important recommendations of the review included the following: doctors should ask patients once a year if they have fallen recently, perform an assessment to decide if they are at an increased risk, and prescribe an exercise program that includes exercise and physical therapy to reduce overall fall risk.

Comprehensive review shows that
exercise is effective for reducing falls in older adults

Falls are still a big problem for older adults, as about 30% of those over the age of 65 will experience a fall at some point. Falls can have serious financial implications and take away from one’s abilities and independence, which is why preventing falls is such an important matter. Many programs have therefore been created to reduce the occurrence of falls in the older population, and to evaluate which aspects of these programs are most effective, an umbrella review was conducted. Umbrella reviews are comprehensive reviews on the most high-quality reviews on the topic, and are thus considered to be some of the most powerful types of research in existence. The most prominent finding of this review was that exercise is capable of significantly reducing the rate, risk and odds of falling, with a 13% reduced fall risk and a 61% reduction in the rate of falls. Exercise has long been regarded as an important component of fall prevention, and this powerful review supports this concept even more, and should encourage older adults to exercise more as recommended through a physical therapist.

Broader assessment required to analyze effectiveness
of elderly fall-prevention programs

A new study dispersed elders that had recently fallen into three separate intervention groupings to determine which was the most effective in preventing future falls. The method used to establish the strongest group took into account various quality of life aspects not limited to number of falls. The group that administered exercise on a biweekly basis proved to be the most helpful of the three, and also pointed out that factors other than the incident of falls are relevant in assessing these methods’ preventative value.

Australian study investigates shockingly
low level of concern in elderly regarding falls

Although there have been an abundance of efforts put forth to raise awareness and decrease falls in the elderly, most seniors fail to realize that they are in fact at a high risk of sustaining a fall, an Australian study states. The study phoned a large number of elders in the state of New South Wales, Australia, asking whether they considered themselves to be at risk for suffering a fall, to which most responded that they in fact were not particularly vulnerable.