Falls in older adults: risk assessment, management and prevention

Am J Med. 2007 Jun;120(6):493.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.07.022.


Falls are a common and serious problem for older adults. This article reviews practical aspects of the evaluation and management of this disorder in the ambulatory setting. Older patients should be screened for falls or changes in mobility as part of their annual health maintenance examination. Most falls are due to multiple factors, including disorders of gait, balance, strength, and vision. Polypharmacy and certain medications contribute to falls in many patients and can be a remediable factor. Many falls can be prevented through individualized multicomponent interventions. Exercise programs, rehabilitation, medication management, and treatment of vitamin D deficiency are the most effective single interventions. Referral to a geriatrician should be considered for patients with other common geriatric syndromes, such as cognitive impairment, incontinence, or depression.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Rehabilitation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control