Falls present a significant cost to the individual. The consequences can range from:
There are also considerable financial costs associated with falls in terms of local health and care services.
Good clinical practice can reduce death and disability resulting from hip fractures and prevent future falls and fragility fractures. Despite evidence-based guidance on preventing and treating falls in older people there is an inconsistent approach to recognition, diagnosis and management of those at risk across the county.
Exercise is the only intervention that by itself reduces falls among older adults. However, multi-factorial interventions. These interventions increase older people’s ability to continue to live safely and independently and can include:
Simple early interventions can provide effective results.
At least a third of people aged over 65 will fall each year nationally. In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which has a significantly higher number of older people than the UK average, this means up to 58,000 people are likely to fall every year, with up to 2,900 requiring hospital treatment.
Understanding why we fall is key to prevention. The natural process of ageing can often place older adults at an increased risk of having a fall. There are 3 reasons for this which are outlined below.
Older people are more like to have:
Among older adults, some of the most common reasons for accidental falls include falling or slipping:
Another common cause, particularly among older men, is falling from a ladder while carrying out home maintenance work.
Falls can also sometimes occur as a result of health reasons. Some common health reasons linked to falling include:
Falls can sometimes be particularly troublesome for older women, as osteoporosis (thinning and weakening of the bones) is a common problem in this population. Osteoporosis is caused by hormonal changes that occur during the menopause (when a woman’s periods stop).