Falls are a serious threat to the lives, health and independence of elderly individuals. According to a Federal task force, between 30 and 40 percent of people who are 65 years or older fall at least once per year.
A recent review by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) found that exercise and vitamin D supplements can help reduce the risk of falling. The group examined the results of 54 clinical trials to determine the benefits and potential harmful effects of interventions that aimed to prevent falls in older people.
The task force concluded that exercise or physical therapy reduced the risk of falling by 13 percent, while vitamin D supplementation led to a 17 percent reduced risk of falls. The report also found that home-hazard modification, which may include measures such as adding non-slip tape to floor surfaces, can help prevent falls.
According to MedPage Today, Mary E. Tinetti of the Yale Medical Group wrote an editorial in the journal Annals, praising the report for addressing these health concerns before Medicare starts funding customized prevention plans.
"The timing is excellent," she wrote. "Evidence generated by the USPSTF will hopefully inform the content of these visits and plans."