Why The Elderly Falls: The Medical Risk Factors

It is a fact that senior citizens are often at risk for falls.  Most people assume that the reason why older adults are prone to falling is because of their age.  In reality, it is not age itself that increases the risk of falls; instead, it is the physical changes that aging brings which are to blame.  People who are 65 years and above undergo physical and cognitive changes that make them vulnerable to falls.  The changes in the body involve the senses, metabolism, the musculoskeletal system, and of course the brain.

Exercise has always been deemed as important to a person’s well-being, and this is particularly true for the elderly.  The lack of physical fitness results to significantly decreased muscle strength, which is one of the leading causes of falls at home.  A decrease in muscle strength results in the decrease of flexibility, coordination and balance, all of which are needed for a person to perform the most mundane tasks.

Aging also negatively impacts the sensory and neural systems.  It is common for people to lose their sense of sight or hearing as they get older, but this development makes them at risk for falls.  This is because the person’s ability to react during a loss in balance and maintain an upright position is diminished.  In addition, neurological diseases such as Parkinsons’ and Alzheimer’s make an elder more vulnerable.  Chronic illnesses like arthritis also increase the risks.

All factors mentioned above make falling quite common for the older set.