Initiatives designed to prevent falls employ a variety of different strategies. Some, such as falls risk assessment and medication management, occur in clinical settings with the help of health care providers.
Others, such as exercise and mitigation of fall hazards in the home, occur in nonclinical settings and may involve nontraditional providers such as community health workers. Combined, these efforts can help provide a comprehensive approach to address the risk and impact of falls in older adults.
Examples of effective exercise interventions evaluated in the clinical trials included supervised individual and group exercise classes, physical therapy, functional training, resistance training, and endurance training. The majority of trials, however, included group exercise classes.
Deaths from unintentional injuries are the seventh leading cause of death among older adults (1), and falls account for the largest percentage of those deaths.
As the population of persons aged 65+ years in the United States, increases, the rising number of deaths from falls in this age group can be addressed by screening for fall risk and intervening to address modifiable risk factors such as polypharmacy or gait, strength, and balance issues.
Approximately one in four U.S. residents aged 65+ years (older adults) report falling each year, and fall-related emergency department visits are estimated at approximately 3 million per year.
There’s a lot of good advice on how to be happier or more productive or how to have better relationships. But tips on how to improve your whole life — something that will last decades and experience countless unpredictable changes — those should be regarded with extreme skepticism.
The only way to really get some good insights would be to follow a lot of people for their entire lives and see what actually works. Luckily, somebody did…
The Study of Adult Development combined three massive longitudinal studies — research projects that followed people from youth until old age — to figure out what makes a good life.
With almost a century of data on nearly 1000 people, there are plenty of insights. We’ll cover 6 big ones that can get you on your path to awesomeness.
There is evidence from high quality studies to strongly support the positive association between increased levels of physical activity, exercise participation and improved health in older adults.
Worldwide, around 3.2 million deaths per year are being attributed to inactivity. In industrialised countries where people are living longer lives, the levels of chronic health conditions are increasing and the levels of physical activity are declining. Key factors in improving health are exercising at a moderate-to-vigorous level for at least 5 days per week and including both aerobic and strengthening exercises.
Few older adults achieve the level of physical activity or exercise that accompanies health improvements. A challenge for health professionals is to increase physical activity and exercise participation in older adults.
Some success in this has been reported when physicians have given specific, detailed and localised information to their patients, but more high quality research is needed to continue to address this issue of non-participation in physical activity and exercise of a high enough level to ensure health benefits.
Chronic musculoskeletal conditions (specifically low back pain, hip and knee osteoarthritis) are highly prevalent in mid-life and older adults and adversely affect mobility.
Chronic musculoskeletal conditions account for over 50% of disability in adults over 65.
Declines in physical activity associated with chronic musculoskeletal conditions are directly linked to an increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Patients often experience a downward spiral of pain, reduced physical activity, increased co-morbidities adn health concerns that negatively impact quality-of-life and sense of well-being. The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) identifies musculoskeletal conditions in older adults as priority conditions, calling for healthcare organizations to improve management strategies.
A number of community programs have been developed that are successful in reducing health risk and improving mobility for individuals with chronic pain conditions, however, care coordination between health providers and community programs is poor.
Providers only refer between 20-35% of individuals at greatest need to community programs and even fewer access the programs.
This suggests that despite numerous resources, we have not established the optimal support mechanisms for sustained physical activity in this population. The focus of the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. project is to work with patient and community stakeholders interested in improving mechanisms for sustaining physical activity in mid-life and older adults with pain and limited mobility.