Lake County Council on Aging Blog

Falls and Alzheimers Disease

Monday, August 12, 2013

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year, but fewer than half talk to their healthcare providers about it. Among older adults 65+, falls are the leading cause of injury death.

They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.  In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized. In 2010, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, was $30.0 billion. A study in the journal Neurology found that cognitively normal older adults with evidence of early brain changes typical of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) fell more often than their peers without these types of brain changes. The results suggest that declines in mobility may precede the symptoms of cognitive decline found in Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that participants with biomarkers indicating greater risk for AD were more likely to fall and to fall sooner than those without or with fewer such markers. The study’s findings extend earlier research that showed movement changes precede cognitive changes in people with very early signs of AD or mild cognitive impairment.