Quick Facts About Balance and Falls

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  • fallingFor people ages 65+, falls are
    • The leading cause of injury deaths
    • The most common cause of hospital admissions for trauma (CDC 2006)
  • The mortality rate is 25% for those who have fallen and broken their hips in the year following their injury (Koval and Zuckerman, 1994)
  • 95% of hip fractures are due to falls (Grisso et al, 1991)
  • More than 1/3 of adults ages 65+ fall each year in the US (Hornbrook et al, 1994; Hausdorff et al, 2001)
  • Annual cost of falls in older adults
    • 2000: $19 billion
    • Projected in 2020: $43.8 billion (CDC)

Treatments for Balance

  • Addressing other medical issues that may be contributing to balance problems
  • Addressing any medication issues
  • Using gait assistive devices
  • Easy household fixes, i.e. removing throw rugs
  • Home modifications
  • Exercises
    • Balance exercises
    • Strengthening exercises
    • Tai Chi
    • Flexibility exercises
    • Cardiovascular/aerobic training
  • Addressing falling fears