For older adults, falls can be as serious as strokes


January 13, 2011

A new comprehensive study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found that falls can be one of the most dangerous incidents in an older adult's life.

"Falls are one of the most common health problems experienced by older adults and are a common cause of losing functional independence," Dr. Mary Tinetti of Yale University School of Medicine said in a statement. "Given their frequency and consequences, falls are as serious a health problem for older persons as heart attacks and strokes."

One way that seniors can ensure their safety while living independently is by installing a personal emergency response system, which can be used to send a medical alert to doctors or caregivers in case of a fall.

The researchers also concluded that serious measures should be undertaken to prevent these incidents altogether. They encourage fall prevention programs that emphasize forms of exercise that are meant to strengthen balance and coordination such as Tai Chi or physical therapy.

They also recommend that that seniors lower the number of medications they take if possible. One study has found that improper doses of pills can increase the risk of falls in seniors, according to The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.

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