An Ounce of Prediction?
The journal of Alzheimer’s & Dementia published findings resulting from an investigation into falls by those 65 years of age or older, with or without dementia. Attempting to predict risk of falls, researchers used National Health and Aging Trends Study data from 2015 and 2016. Results culled from over 5,500 people included:
- Higher fall rates in those with dementia (45.5%) vs those without (30.9%)
- Higher fall rates were predicted in those with dementia if they lived with a spouse or had impaired vision, but not those without dementia
- For those with or without dementia, previous falls were a predictor of future falls
The study concluded, “patients with dementia who had vision impairment, lived with a spouse, and had a history of falls may be more at risk for future falls.” Although the study had its limitations, a principle one being that those with dementia may forget that they have fallen, researchers state “Incorporating appropriate fall-risk factors could inform effective falls screening and prevention strategies for PLWD [persons living with, versus without, dementia].”