Seniors' fear of falling affects quality of life, survey shows

Seniors’ fear of falling affects quality of life, survey shows

August 3, 2011

Falls and the risk of falling can have negative effects on the quality of life, both physically and emotionally, for seniors. Each year, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls, and 20 to 30 percent of these falls result in injuries that range from moderate to severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A senior medical alert system can be used to contact help immediately, should an older adult experience a fall.

UnitedHealthcare and AARP recently conducted a survey of 15,000 adults who were 65 years of age or older, and 17 percent of participants reported that they suffered from walking and balance problems that increase their risk of falling, and 21 percent said that they experienced falls last year. The researchers also found that falling and the risk of falls impacts senior’s quality of life more than common chronic diseases, such as arthritis, hypertension, respiratory conditions and diabetes.

“This survey highlights the fact that more research is warranted to better understand which aspects of falls prevention and intervention programs can improve physical functioning, such as improving balance and walking problems, while contributing to enhancing seniors’ quality of life,” said Dr. Charlotte Yeh, the chief medical officer at AARP Services.

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