It is common knowledge that falls are a problem among the elderly. They often lead to broken hips from which the person may never really recover. A recent study, however, indicates the problem with falls starts much earlier than we think.
Researchers in Trinity College Dublin have identified a sharp increase in falls after the age of 40, particularly in women. They drew on data from TILDA (the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) as well as data from similar studies in Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands and found that for women the prevalence of falls increases from the age of 40 on — 9% in 40-44 year olds, 19% in 45-49 year olds, 21% in 50-54 year olds, 27% in 55-59 year olds and 30% in 60-64 year olds.
What this means is that preventative measures should be undertaken beginning around the age of menopause. Waiting until after a fall has occurred is not nearly effective enough.
Health consequences like fractures, head injuries, reduced social participation, increased risk of nursing home admittance, decline in independence and subsequently increased need for care are serious and costly. In addition, there are emotional costs. The researchers estimate one in four people over the age of 50 is afraid of further falls.
Midlife ladies, here is a slideshow of balance exercises to get you started in preventing a fall.