An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study has found that the rate of head injuries from falls by older Australians has nearly doubled over the past 10 years, with the most common injuries occurring to the head at 26%, and hip and thigh at 22%. Among older people, falls are common and can result in fractures, head injuries, and other serious injuries.
The increase in the rate of head injuries due to falls was estimated to be 6.7% per year for those aged 85 and over, says Flinders Professor James Harrison from the AIHW’s National Injury Surveillance Unit.
Women accounted for 65% of hospitalisation for falls across all older age groups. The most common cause of hospitalised injuries was due to slipping, tripping and stumbling. However, falls involving stairs and steps showed the steepest increase year on year.
There are many health and environmental factors that contribute to falls in older people.
Health factors that contribute to falls in older people include:
Loss of balance
Reduced muscle strength
Environmental factors include:
Trip and slip hazards
Physiotherapy is beneficial in the management of falls and the risk of falls in the older population.
Physiotherapists can create programs specifically tailored to older clients, focusing on:
Muscle power, strength, and endurance
Help with lower limb pain
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