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What’s different when we are over 85?

Whilst we have had previous information on differing risk factors for falls within those living in residential care and those in the community, no studies on risk factors for falls have focused on adults 85 years and older, the most rapidly growing segment of adults, until now...

Grundstrom and colleagues examined demographic, health, and behavioral risk factors for falls and fall-related injuries in adults 65 years and older, with a particular focus on adults 85 years and older. They analysed self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS - US) for 2008. Data was available for 120,923 people aged 65 or older and 12,684 people aged 85 or older. Of those aged 85 or older, 21.3% reported at least one fall in the past 3 months and 7.2% reported at least one fall related injury requiring medical care or limiting activity for a day or longer. Below average general health, male sex, perceived insufficient sleep, health problems requiring assistive devices, alcohol consumption, increasing body mass index and history of stroke were all independently associated with a greater risk of falls or fall related injuries. The greater risk of falling in those 85 years and older appeared to be due to the deterioration of overall health status with age; among those with excellent overall health status, there was no greater risk of falling in adults 85 years and older compared to those 65-84 years of age.

Perhaps a reminder that falls are often just a marker of health concerns and frailty?

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