are very prevalent in older people. More than 30% of people older than 65
suffers at least one fall a year, of which half experience multiple falls
(Gillespie et al. 2009). Of these falls from 24% to 53% requires medical
attention and from 5% to 10% result into severe injuries, with hip fractures
(1%) being the most frequent (Gillespie et al. 2009).
studies have been carried out in order to determine the causes of the falls in
the older population as well as establishing prevention strategies. Many
socio-demographic factors, medical conditions and impairments of sensorimotor
function, balance and gait have been strongly related to falls.
is now strong evidence to support interventions in the prevention of falls in
older people. Strategies shown to successfully reduce falls in randomised
controlled trials include exercise, occupational therapy interventions
incorporating education and home hazard modification, psychotropic medication
withdrawal, expedited cataract extraction, cardiac pacing for carotid sinus
hypersensitivity and targeted multi-factorial interventions (Gillespie et al.
the different approaches for the reduction of the risk of falls and the rate of
falls, exercise is the most tried and tested approach to falls prevention and
has been shown successful as a single intervention strategy in community
covers a wide range of physical tasks (balance, strength, flexibility etc.)
delivered in numerous formats, some of which are likely to result in greater
reductions in falls than others. In the meta-analysis of Gillespie et al. 2009,
the authors classified the needed exercises as follows:
- 3D (Tai Chi, dance, etc.)
there are many health and social benefits from a range of exercise regimes, it
is primarily moderate to high level balance training that has been shown to
impact significantly on falls rates (Sherrington et al. 2008). Effective
programs could be either conducted in a group setting (such as Tai Chi) or as
an individualized program at home. It has also been suggested that the minimal
effective exercise dose would equate to a twice-weekly program running over 25
weeks. Strategies for achieving long term exercise participation are therefore
crucial in the prevention of falls.