Risk factors for falls among older adults: A review of the literature

Anne Felicia Ambrose, Geet Paul, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

427 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Falls are one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity in older adults. Every year, an estimated 30-40% of patients over the age of 65 will fall at least once. Falls lead to moderate to severe injuries, fear of falling, loss of independence and death in a third of those patients. The direct costs alone from fall related injuries are a staggering 0.1% of all healthcare expenditures in the United States and up to 1.5% of healthcare costs in European countries. This figure does not include the indirect costs of loss of income both to the patient and caregiver, the intangible losses of mobility, confidence, and functional independence. Numerous studies have attempted to define the risk factors for falls in older adults. The present review provides a brief summary and update of the relevant literature, summarizing demographic and modifiable risk factors. The major risk factors identified are impaired balance and gait, polypharmacy, and history of previous falls. Other risk factors include advancing age, female gender, visual impairments, cognitive decline especially attention and executive dysfunction, and environmental factors. Recommendations for the clinician to manage falls in older patients are also summarized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalMaturitas
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Accidental Falls
Costs
Costs and Cost Analysis
Polypharmacy
Vision Disorders
Wounds and Injuries
Health Expenditures
Gait
Health Care Costs
Caregivers
Fear
History
Demography
Morbidity
Delivery of Health Care
Mortality
Cognitive Dysfunction

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Balance
  • Fall risk
  • Gait

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this

Risk factors for falls among older adults : A review of the literature. / Ambrose, Anne Felicia; Paul, Geet; Hausdorff, Jeffrey M.

In: Maturitas, Vol. 75, No. 1, 01.05.2013, p. 51-61.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Ambrose, Anne Felicia ; Paul, Geet ; Hausdorff, Jeffrey M. / Risk factors for falls among older adults : A review of the literature. In: Maturitas. 2013 ; Vol. 75, No. 1. pp. 51-61.
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