Meghan G. Donaldson, MSc, CIHR Doctoral Scholar, Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
Karim M. Khan, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia; consultant in the Osteoporosis Programme at B.C. Women's Hospital and Health Centre; CIHR New Investigator, Vancouver, BC.
Stephen R. Lord, PhD, NHMRC, Principal Research Fellow, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Author of "Falls in Older People".
Falls are a major health problem in all Western societies. About 30% of community-dwelling seniors fall annually, and of these, half have recurrent falls. This article focuses on fall prevention in community-dwelling older people. It reviews risk factors for falls, addresses the role of exercise to prevent falls, and outlines management tips for physicians who see patients who fall. There is good evidence that strength and balance training should be prescribed to prevent falls. Also, there are many simple things a physician can do to reduce fall risk, such as medication rationalization and treating fall risk factors in a coordinated manner.
Key words: falls, exercise, balance, resistance training, risk factor modification.