Exercise alone, and in combination with different fall prevention strategies may lower the risk of falls leading to injuries in older adults 65 and over

Original article here, McMaster Optimal Aging Portal
Original research paper here

What types of fall prevention strategies are effective in reducing falls that result in injuries among older adults over 65 years of age?

As the worldwide population ages, the incidence of falls is expected to increase. Falls are costly to health care systems. Patients who may experience reduced quality of life, increased anxiety and depression, and serious injury or death. It is not clear what the best fall prevention strategies are.  This study examined important aspects more closely.

The study looked at the results of 283 well designed trials with 159,910 participants between 1990 and 2017. The review compared all of the results of the trials. The best fall prevention programs that could reduce the risk of falls leading to injuries were:

  • Exercise on its own
  • Exercise with various combinations of other fall prevention strategies, including:
    • Vision test and treatment
    • Environmental checks and changes (for example, removing safety hazards and installing safety devices like grab bars)
    • Clinic quality improvement with better case management, education of staff and safety reminders
    • Broad health and social assessment and treatment, and
    • Calcium supplementation, and vitamin D supplementation

Combined exercise and vision assessment and treatment may be most beneficial.