Category Archives: seniors falling

Falls lead to declines in seniors

Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. Incredibly, as important as these factors are, as we age, the move more factor takes on added significance. Seniors with mobility problems can be more vulnerable than those without them. Mobility problems can come from a sedentary lifestyle as well as heavy medication.

More than half of elderly patients (age 65 and older) who visited an emergency department because of injuries sustained in a fall suffered adverse events – including additional falls, hospitalization and death – within 6 months. The results of a study examining how risk factors predict recurrent falls and adverse events were published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“Revisit, Subsequent Hospitalization, Recurrent Fall and Death within 6 Months after a Fall among Elderly Emergency Department Patients“).

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“Our study shows an even higher rate of adverse events than previous studies have,” said lead study author Jiraporn Sri-on, MD, of Navamindradhiraj University in Bangkok, Thailand. “Patients taking psychiatric and/or sedative medications had even more adverse events. This is concerning because these types of drugs are commonly prescribed for elderly patients in community and residential care settings.” Continue reading

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Are There Immediate Benefits to Doing Yoga?

Judging from my own experience I would have to say the answer is yes to that question. Not long ago I started doing yoga and wrote about it for the blog. It has probably been 10 years since I have done any yoga seriously; I didn’t have any grandiose expectations. I am a senior citizen now, so my yoga experiences from my 30s and 40s might have little bearing on my present aging body. Also, I started with long range goals. I wanted to build up my strength and flexibility while keeping my ligaments and joints fresh through the various stretches and deep breathing.

The Sun Salutation postures

For the past three days I have done about an hour of yoga and relaxation every evening. In addition to that I do several sun salutations when I get up in the morning. The sun salutation is more functional than anything yogic. As you can see from the illustration, it includes a series of full body stretches. I think it is a way to get my body jump started after a night of sleep. I don’t follow it with a relaxation period, either.
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What About Seniors Falling?

Falling down is a serious problem for senior citizens. For seniors,  65 years and older, one out of three falls each year. Half of these fall more than once. Seniors fall more often with each decade of life. Women are more likely to fall than men, but men are more likely to sustain a fatal fall injury. These statistics refer to individuals living in the community, not nursing homes.

So says, Adnan Arseven, MD, AGSF, Division of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, speaking before the hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®.

Dr. Arseven defined falling as “coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or at a lower level.” This is not as a result of loss of consciousness or hazardous conditions, like slipping on ice.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, said, “Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

“In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized.

“In 2010, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, was $30.0 billion.”

What outcomes are linked to falls?

• Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, or head traumas. These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.
• Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In 2000, TBI accounted for 46 percent of fatal falls among older adults.
• Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand.
• Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.
• The death rates from falls among older men and women have risen sharply over the past decade.
• In 2009, about 20,400 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.
• Men are more likely than women to die from a fall.  After taking age into account, the fall death rate in 2009 was 34 percent higher for men than for women.
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