Loneliness Linked to Higher Fall Risk in Elderly

by Colleen Fleiss on Dec 11 2020 4:15 AM

Loneliness Linked to Higher Fall Risk in Elderly
In elderly people, loneliness and social isolation are linked to higher fall risk, revealed new research published in Scientific Reports.
Daisy Fancourt and colleagues studied data from a total of 13,061 participants aged 60 and //over, collected between 2002-2017 as part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) survey. Researchers analyzed self-reported data on falls, and where available, records of hospital admissions related to a fall.

Falls are a significant public health issue among older people. In the study, over 50% of participants reported experiencing a fall within the study period, while 9% had a hospital admission related to a fall.

Living alone and having little social contact, used as social isolation measures, were linked to an increased risk of self-reported falls and falls requiring hospital admittance in older adults.

Older adults living alone showed an 18% higher risk of reporting a fall than those living with friends or relatives.

People who had the least social contact were 24% more likely to report a fall and 36-42% more likely to be admitted to hospital for a fall than those with the most social contact.

According to the authors, further research should explore whether lockdown and social distancing measures resulting from the pandemic may have increased the incidence of falls in older individuals.