Falls among the elderly: a review of the methods and conclusions of epidemiologic studies

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1982 Jun;30(6):367-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1982.tb02833.x.


This paper summarizes the medical literature relevant to falls sustained by the elderly to highlight what is known about the magnitude of the problem, to identify those aged at risk, and to ascertain the risk factors for falling. While searching for general trends in the literature, the analysis concentrates on several characteristics of such studies, including the study populations, the measurement of risk factors, the measurement of outcome, and the systematic biases involved. Possible mechanisms are suggested for use of the profound influence of pre-existing disease in the elderly as a predictor of falling and subsequent injury. On the basis of this analysis of the literature, suggestions are made about avenues for future research that would answer more definitively the questions remaining about falls among the elderly.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home
  • Aged*
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Outpatients
  • Risk
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology