Certain medical conditions may lead to disabilities in elders


January 23, 2012

Preparing for an earthquake and knowing what to do in the event of one is very useful!In the U.S., one in three seniors age 65 and older will suffer a fall annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although some might assume that the risk is the same for every senior, a new study finds that certain medical conditions might make some more vulnerable to falls and disabilities.

The study published in Annals of Internal Medicine looked to see if risk factors increased for people who had known medical problems such as a chronic condition or cognitive impairment. The researchers looked at potential disability risk factors of 641 people aged 70 and older every 18 months from 1998 to 2002. Aside from these issues leading more seniors to fall or rely more on family help, other factors that led to similar results include seniors who have been hospitalized and people with low physical activity or slower gross motor coordination.

"We've learned that targeted strategies are needed to prevent disability among older people living independently in the community," said lead author Thomas Gill.

Elders living alone might be nervous about falling when no one is around. Those with such concerns may benefit from installing a senior alert system in their homes as this wearable device gives a person a means to call for help when faced with an emergency.