Latest findings on fall prevention

Around 1/3 of every Danish home-living elderly falls at least ones a year! The risk of falling increases with age and nearly twice as many elderly in the age of 70-80 years old experience a fall compared with elderly below the age of 70. Therefore, the Danish National Board of Health has just published new guidelines in order to prevent falls among elderly citizens.

There are several reasons why older people fall, but overall falls are often due to balance failure or loss of consciousness. In addition, low muscle mass, impaired balance and perception, as well as impaired vision and hearing, are some of the other major risk factors that lead to falls. Therefore, the guideline recommends a multi-disciplinary effort to prevent and thereby reduce the number of falls in the elderly, “says clerk Christina Debes Helm from Danish National Board of Health.
The new Guidelines recommend, among other things, that elderly with increased risk of falling receive supervised strength and balance training, and in addition, do exercises that train their balance (the vestibular event)! This recommendations is exactly what we are trying in the WIPP project, where elderly people, who through evidence-based screening tools has been identified as fragile, are randomized to one of two groups, where one group receives supervised strength training twice a week for three months. The purpose of WIPP is not only to prevent falls among fragile elderly, but overall to reduce the risk of disability, reduce loss of mobility, reduce healthcare costs and increasing the number of healthy (and independent) life years in elderly citizens within the INTERREG region.

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