Social Issues

Falls in older adults

old age care


A fall by World Health Organization is defined as an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level. Fall related injuries may be fatal or non-fatal though most are non-fatal. Falls are a marker of frailty, immobility, and acute and chronic health impairment in older persons. Falls in turn diminish function by causing injury, active limitations, fear of falling, and loss of mobility. Most injuries in older adults are the result of falls; fracture of the hip, forearm, humerus and pelvis usually results from combined effect of falls and osteoporosis. 

In the year 2012, Mrs. Sita Devi, a native of Varanasi had come to Dr. Prasun Chatterjee, Geriatrician, AIIMS, Delhi. She had a severe fall and had suffered from the consequences after the fall. She had a hip fracture, because of the fall and took for about a year to recover as she was a lady of 80 years old. She lived with her husband, they didn’t have had any children of their own, so the couple as each other as caregiver. After her fall incidence she was afraid to walk, had reduced her mobility and because of this her cognitive function declined as well. She had become a little temperament after the incidence. Her husband was in a depressive state, because he was the only one to take care of her with limited income sources and the recovery has already taken a lot of money. They both visited the Department of Geriatric Medicine, where her husband Mr. Sharma interacted with the internist and explained all the problems he encountered while taking care of her, he himself being above 80 years old. He claimed that he remains constantly worried about his wife thinking she might fall again when alone.  

Falls are recognized markers for frailty and morbidity impairment in the older adults. A team of geriatrician, physiotherapist, occupation therapist and psychotherapist is required to deal with the cause as well as to deal with the after effects. As in the case of Mrs. Sita Devi, she had a hip injury and was afraid to do her daily routine activities with the fear of a future fall. In this case, after the recovery, physiotherapy helped her to maintain her gait balance and exercises helped to reduce the pain and better recovery. Psychotherapy, helped in clearing her thoughts and eliminating the fears she was having in her mind.



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