Intended for healthcare professionals


Preventing falls in older people

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 07 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4919
  1. Meg E Morris, professor
  1. 1Department of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC 3010, Australia
  1. m.morris{at}

Integrating strength and balance exercises into activities of daily living is effective

In a three armed randomised parallel trial (doi:10.1136/bmj.e4547), Clemson and colleagues examine the effectiveness of a multifactorial integrated intervention in the prevention of falls among people aged 70 years or more who were assessed to be at high risk of falling.1 By the year 2050 around 1.5 billion people will be aged 65 years or more, and many of those will live in developing countries.2 At least a third of healthy people over 65 years who live at home fall once a year; about 20% of such falls require medical care, and many result in fractures.3 Rates of falling events and injuries from falls increase with advancing age, and rates are particularly high for people with chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.4 The economic burden of falls in old age is substantial. After motor vehicle accidents, injuries from falls contribute most to lifetime costs of injuries, with wrist and hip fractures contributing the most in elderly people.5 It is worrying that hospital admissions related to falls have declined …

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