Even small falls can be deadly

Nov 22, 2010

Falls for the elderly can be serious

For most people, a fall can simply result in a scrape or a few bruises. For the elderly, however, the implications from tripping can be far more serious.

Research from the University of Rochester Medical Center reveals even falling a short distance can be deadly for the elderly, in particular those who are older than 70.

Such findings serve as an important reminder for the elderly to make sure they have life insurance and financial documents completed even if they feel healthy.

Department of Surgery associate professor Dr. Julius Cheng says the research findings should be used to help people realize the serious health consequences a fall can have.

"There is the potential to minimize what people see as a relatively trivial issue, such as slipping and falling on a wet tile floor," says Cheng. "Our research shows that falls from low levels shouldn't be underestimated in terms of how bad they can be, especially in older patients."

While some falls can't be avoided, there are actions one can take to help reduce the likelihood of losing his or her footing. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says a person's eyes, ears and muscles all play a role in maintaining balance. It notes that over time, vision and hearing change as a result of age and medication.

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