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Falls in Older Adults



Falls are prevalent among older adults and can lead to injury, hospitalization, and increased healthcare costs. Environmental hazards, medications, vision problems, and impairments in strength, gait, or balance can increase fall risk. A multifactorial fall-risk assessment including a fall history, physical exam, gait and balance evaluation, and environmental assessment is recommended for all older adults who present with a fall or problem with gait or balance. Multiple-component exercise programs, tai chi, vitamin D supplementation, withdrawal of psychotropic medications, and early cataract surgery have all been shown to reduce fall rates. Multifactorial interventions that include medication review, vision correction, management of orthostasis, environmental modification, and balance, strength, and gait training can also be beneficial in preventing falls. Mt Sinai J Med 78:590–595, 2011. © 2011 Mount Sinai School of Medicine