Nearly Half of People With Dementia Experience a Fall Annually

Vision impairment and living with a spouse predict falls in persons with dementia



TUESDAY, Jan. 31, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Nearly half of people with dementia experienced a fall in 2016, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Safiyyah M. Okoye, Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, and colleagues used data from the 2015 and 2016 National Health and Aging Trends Study to identify fall-risk factors among community-living older adults aged 65 years and older with and without dementia (5,581 individuals).

The researchers found that fall rates were higher among people living with dementia versus those without dementia (45.5 versus 30.9 percent). Among people with dementia, vision impairment (odds ratio, 2.22) and living with a spouse versus alone (odds ratio, 2.43) predicted falls. Regardless of dementia status, history of previous falls predicted subsequent falls (odds ratios, 6.20 and 2.92 with dementia and without dementia, respectively).

“Examining the multiple factors, including environmental ones like a person’s home or neighborhood, is necessary to inform fall-risk screening, caregiver education and support, and prevention strategies for this high-risk population of older adults,” Okoye said in a statement. “Overall, our findings demonstrate the importance of understanding and addressing fall-risk among older adults living with dementia. It confirms that fall-risk is multidimensional and influenced by environmental context in addition to health and function factors.”

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