In Elderly, Risks Differ for Indoor Versus Outdoor Falls in North Carolina

For seniors living at home, something as simple as falling can become an issue. If you or your loved one is receiving home care, please do what you can to prevent injuries from falling.

(HealthDay News) — Different risk factors contribute to indoor and outdoor falls among the elderly and these differences need to be incorporated into fall prevention programs, a new study suggests.

U.S. researchers studied 765 people, aged 70 and older, in the Boston area. Over two years, the participants reported 598 indoor falls and 524 outdoors falls. After someone suffered a fall, they were interviewed about the circumstances.

The study found that those who fell indoors had inactive lifestyles, more physical disabilities, took more medications, and had lower cognitive function (or thinking skills) than those who fell outdoors.

Participants who fell outdoors were generally younger than those who fell indoors, were more likely to be male and better educated, and had lifestyles that indicated better health.

The study, published online Sept. 8 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, has a number of implications, said senior author Marian T. Hannan, a senior scientist at the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

The findings show that falls are not necessarily an indication of poor health and that fall prevention programs require different approaches for those at risk for indoor or outdoor falls.

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