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Age Ageing. 1988 Nov;17(6):365-72.

Falls by elderly people at home: prevalence and associated factors.

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  • 1Department of Health, Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham.


Of 1042 individuals aged 65 years and over who were successfully interviewed in a community survey of health and physical activity, 35% (n = 356) reported one or more falls in the preceding year. Although the overall ratio of female fallers to male fallers was 2.7:1, this ratio approached unity with advancing age. Mobility was significantly impaired in those reporting falls. Asked to provide a reason for their falls, 53% reported tripping, 8% dizziness and 6% reported blackouts. A further 19% were unable to give a reason. There was no association between falls and the use of diuretics, antihypertensives or tranquilizers, but a significant association between falls and the use of hypnotics and antidepressants was found. Discriminant analysis of selected medical and anthropometric variables indicated that handgrip strength in the dominant hand and reported symptoms of arthritis, giddiness and foot difficulties were most influential in predicting reports of recent falls.

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