October 1989

Falls in Older PersonsCauses and Interventions

Author Affiliations

From the US Preventive Services Task Force (Ms Hindmarsh and Dr Estes); Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging, Baltimore, Md (Ms Hindmarsh); and Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(10):2217-2222. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390100049013

• Falls in older persons are an Important cause of injury, disability, and death. They are also Important as an indicator of decline in functional ability, requiring a careful assessment of contributing factors, in both the patient and the environment, with corrective intervention when possible. A fear of falls contributes to the problem by causing inactivity and deconditioning, further increasing the danger of falls. Identification of those at high risk and those who have begun to experience falls is important, followed by a systematic evaluation for underlying disease, medication effects, unsteady gait and balance, and environmental risk factors. Regular exercise and physical stress are also important in avoiding falls.

(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:2217-2222)