Falls Prevention

In Singapore, about one-third of older adults aged 60 and above have fallen more than once. Falls can be dangerous for an elderly person as they may result in hip fractures, especially among women, who have 18% risk of getting a hip fracture in their lifetime. This risk is about 6% for men.

The risk of fractures is higher in people who have osteoporosis. A hip fracture can result in loss of function and mobility, and studies have shown that there is an increase in the number of deaths in the year following a fracture.

The Elderly Falling Down at Home

Did you know that most falls for older people happen in the home? In fact, the majority of these falls occur in the bedroom and living room. Environmental hazards in the home such as slippery floors or loose cords, visual problems and ill health also increase the risk of falls for older persons.

Consequences of Falls in the Elderly

Falls can result in a variety of complications ranging from fractures to long-term hospitalisation and loss in self-esteem and confidence. Because the consequences of falls are numerous and significant, falls and its resulting injuries—whether they’re hip fractures or head injuries—are important health issues that cannot be overlooked. Here are some of the ways that a fall may negatively impact someone.

Physical consequences

  • Fractures, especially at the hip or forearm
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Medical conditions/health problems due to prolonged immobility
  • Difficulty or inability to move around independently, especially for long periods of time
  • Unsteady walking pattern

Social consequences

  • Loss of independence
  • Changes to daily routine
  • Financial costs of hospitalisation
  • Loss of social contacts due to long-term hospitalisation
  • Decreased quality of life

Psychological consequences

  • Frustration at losing their independence to carry out daily activities
  • Fear of falling again
  • Distress resulting from uncertainty and anxiety in life after suffering from a fall-related injury
  • Embarrassment from injury and/or usage of walking aids
  • Loss of self-esteem due to an inability to take care of oneself after falling

In a nutshell

Falls can result in:

  • Physical consequences: fractures and disability.
  • Social consequences: increased financial burden, disruption to daily routine.
  • Psychological consequences: stress due to uncertainties and inability to live independently.

Get tips how to prevent falls and what you can do to reduce the risk of falling from the Health Promotion Board.

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