Falls and Osteoporosis

Health inequalities

The risk of falling increases with age however the presence of more than one risk factor further increases the risk of a fall.

Although 35% of people aged 65 years and over living in the community are likely to fall at least once a year, the fall rates among institution residents are much higher.  Approximately 50% of older people in residential care facilities fall at least once a year and up to 40% fall more than once a year.  People living alone are considered to be at higher risk of falling – part of this appears to be related to certain types of housing older people may occupy (Todd and Skelton, 2004).

For the younger older person, fall rates for men and women are similar, however among the older old, women fall more often than men and are more likely to incur fractures when they fall (Todd and Skelton, 2004).

Evidence suggests Caucasian ethnic groups fall more frequently than Afro-Caribbean’s, Hispanics or South Asians however there are no papers reporting ethnicity variations for continental Europe (Todd and Skelton, 2004).  Caucasians and Asians tend to be at greater risk of fragile bones than people of other ethnic backgrounds (NOS, 2015)

Some medical conditions increase the risk of falling e.g. circulatory disease, respiratory disease, depression, arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease (Todd and Skelton, 2004).  The needs of older people with dementia (who are all at increased risk of falling) are complex and need to be taken account of in an integrated falls service.  Whilst a falls programme is unlikely to be appropriate for those people in the later stages of dementia, interventions such as medication, footwear, eyesight and lighting should be considered.

Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016