n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Fall prevention in older persons : more about... elderly medicine




The population of South Africa is ageing. In 2000 there were about 600 000 people aged 75 years and older; in 2025 there will be 1.5 million and in 2050 the number will have climbed to 2.6 million. It is people in the 75+ age group who tend to suffer the most from falls. Falls are one of the five so-called 'geriatric giants', along with dementia, poor mobility, incontinence and polypharmacy. Studies in Europe, North America and Australia showed that about 30% of people aged 65 years and older and living in the community fall at least once a year. Fall frequency is even higher among older people living in residential aged care facilities. About 5% of falls lead to fractures, but even falls without obvious injury can lead to loss of confidence and eventual institutionalisation.


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