Fall Prevention in the Elderly

  • All older adults who are at risk of falling should be offered an exercise program incorporating balance, gait, and strength training, such as Tai Chi or physical therapy. Flexibility and endurance training should also be offered, but not as sole components of the program.

  • Exercise may be performed in groups or as individual exercises, as both are effective in preventing falls (B).

  • USPSTF: Routine Vitamin D Screening Unwarranted

    USPSTF: Routine Vitamin D Screening Unwarranted

    Vitamin D supplements of at least 800 IU per day should be provided to older persons with proven vitamin D deficiency (A).

  • Home environment assessment and intervention carried out by a health care professional should be included in a multifactorial assessment and intervention, and should mitigate identified hazards to promote the safe performance of daily activities.

  • Psychoactive medications (hypnotics, anxiolytics, antidepressants) and antipsychotics (including new antidepressants or antipsychotics) should be minimized or withdrawn, with appropriate tapering if indicated. A reduction in the total number of overall medications or dose of individual medications should be pursued (B).

  • In older women in whom cataract surgery is indicated, surgery should be expedited as it reduces the risk of falling (B).

  • Assessment and treatment of postural hypotension should be included as components of multifactorial interventions to prevent falls in older persons (B).

  • Dual chamber cardiac pacing should be considered for older persons with cardioinhibitory carotid sinus hypersensitivity who experience unexplained recurrent falls (B).

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Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls, according to the CDC. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head injuries, and can increase the risk of early death.

This slideshow contains A and B grade recommendations from the American Geriatrics Society to prevent falls in the elderly.

An A grade indicates that good evidence backs up the utility of the intervention in improving health outcomes and that the benefits outweigh harms, whereas a B grade indicates, the recommendation is based on fair evidence.

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