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Falls risk factors - Stay On Your Feet

Just about all falls are predictable and are therefore preventable [67]. Research has identified a number of common risk factors for falling among older people. A person's risk of falling increases as the number of risk factors accumulates.[1] Risk factors can be divided into intrinsic (related to a person's behavior or condition) and extrinsic (related to a person's environment or their interaction with the environment).

Image of book used as a bookmarkSeniors can find out more about how to avoid falling by staying healthy and active

Image of book used as a bookmarkHealth professionals can find out more about risk factors, risk screening and what works to prevent falls

What factors place an older person at risk of falling in the community? (2)

Intrinsic factorsExtrinsic factors
Increased age Inappropriate footwear (high heels and slippers)
History of falls Inappropriate spectacles
Chronic medical conditions (eg. stroke, Parkinson's disease, arthritis)  
Multiple medications and specific types (eg. psychoactive medications)  
Impaired balance and mobility  
Reduced muscle strength  
Sensory problems (eg. impaired vision, peripheral neuropathy)  
Dizziness  
Impaired cognition  
Incontinence 
Depression  
Low levels of physical activity 
Slow reaction time  
Fear of falling 
Being female
Last updated: 1 August 2012