18 Age-Related Changes that Lead to Falls

18 Age-Related Changes that Lead to Falls

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “As the population ages, fall rates are expected to increase.” (1) This is because age can impact your mind and body in a variety of ways. Some of these age-related changes impair your ability to think, focus, balance, stay upright, and navigate your world.

When these abilities are impaired, it can lead to a fall. It is important to understand what age-related factors may be affecting you. Analyze what factors may be increasing your chances of falling and look for fall prevention strategies to improve your safety while aging in place at home.

1. Impaired Vision

Over time, your eyes lose some of their ability to focus as well as some of their peripheral range. According to All About Vision, “Aging causes a normal loss of peripheral vision, with the size of our visual field decreasing by approximately one to three degrees per decade of life. By the time you reach your 70s and 80s, you may have a peripheral visual field loss of 20 to 30 degrees.” (2)

With decreased clarity and range of vision, it can be tricky to navigate the world. If you can’t see the edge of the stairs or tripping hazards in your path, it can increase your risk of falling. Be sure to visit your eye doctor regularly for check-ups. This way, you will know if you need glasses; or if your glasses prescription needs to be updated.

2. Hearing Loss

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “About 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64. Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.” (3) Hearing loss affects balance. Your body may devote more energy and attention to your other senses to compensate for hearing loss. When this happens, your attention to aspects such as balance decreases. This can increase your risk of falling.

Ask your friends and loved ones if you seem to be having trouble hearing them. If you are, ask your doctor about a hearing aid. An Alert1 mobile medical alert can provide peace of mind if you have concerns about falling.

3. Muscle Weakness

As you age, your muscle tissue and nervous system can experience changes that result in muscle weakness. When your muscles lose strength, it can be more difficult to carry your weight. This can result in an increased risk of falling. Try doing some fall prevention exercises for the elderly to keep your muscles toned.

An Alert1 On-the-Go Wrist Watch can help keep you safe while exercising. If you happen to fall, you can press and hold the SOS button on the side to contact a 24/7 Command Center for help. The pedometer feature of the watch can also help you track your activity so that you can meet your exercise goals.

4. Poor Posture

Muscle weakness can lead to poor posture. When you have poor posture, it is easier to lose your balance, which can lead to a fall. Poor posture can also affect your gait, or how you walk. Compensating for poor posture can expend more energy and make you tired faster. This can also increase your fall risk.

Do some fall prevention exercises to keep your core muscles strong. This way, you can maintain good posture. It also helps to be aware of your posture while sitting and relaxing. Remind yourself to sit up straight.

5. Poor Balance

Loss of balance as you age can come from a variety of conditions including muscle weakness, joint weakness, lack of energy, and neurological conditions. Lack of balance can lead to a fall, especially when the reaction time of your reflexes has decreased.

An Alert1 emergency alert necklace with fall detection can help you contact help to get back on your feet if you get knocked off balance. When the sensor within the necklace detects a fall, it will automatically contact an Alert1 emergency response agent for you.

6. Bone Deterioration

According to Medline Plus, “As you age, your body may reabsorb calcium and phosphate from your bones instead of keeping these minerals in your bones. This makes your bones weaker. When this process reaches a certain stage, it is called osteoporosis.” (4) When your bones deteriorate in places such as your hip or leg, it can affect your gait and make it more difficult to balance.

Be sure to intake proper nutrients with your diet to keep your bones strong. Some bone-strengthening nutrients include: (5)

  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin D
  • Potassium
  • Fluoride

7. Loss of Flexibility

Loss of flexibility is a normal side effect of aging as well. This occurs due to factors such as loss of water in the tissues and spine, decreased elasticity, and stiff joints. Flexibility typically does not increase seniors’ fall risk, but it can affect how badly a fall injures you. It can also decrease your chances of successfully catching yourself if you stumble. Stretching, massages, and warm baths are popular ways to increase your flexibility and relieve stiffness.

8. Injuries and Surgeries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.” (6) Injuries and surgeries can leave certain parts of your body weaker. If your injuries or surgery are located on your legs, back, or core muscles, it can affect your balance, strength, and flexibility. If you suffer an injury or have recently had surgery, be sure to give yourself time to heal before performing any strenuous activity. It is important to stay active, however, as lack of activity can contribute to muscle weakness.

9. Tiredness and Decreased Endurance

As you age, you might not have as much energy as you once did. If you are performing an activity and start to become fatigued, this can increase your risk of falling. As you age, listen to your body and learn how to identify when you need to take a break. This will help you prevent falls as well as keep you healthier overall.

10. Physical Medical Conditions

As humans age, medical conditions become more common. Certain medical conditions can contribute to your fall risk. Some common medical conditions that affect fall-risk include:

  • Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Anemia
  • Thyroid problems
  • Foot Disorders
  • Sensory Disorders(7)

If you have any of these conditions, be sure to take your medication and talk to your doctor to learn if there are any other fall prevention strategies you can use.

One fall prevention initiative you should consider is to purchase an senior fall alert pendant with fall detection from Alert1. When the sensor within the pendant registers a fall, it will automatically contact our 24/7 Command Center. Then you will be connected with an emergency response agent who can assess the situation and help get you whatever assistance you may require. 

11. Mental Medical Conditions

Along with physical medical conditions, mental conditions can also contribute to the risk of seniors’ falling. Some of these include:

  • Cognitive Decline
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of Falling

These conditions can affect your ability to focus, make good decisions, use your senses, and navigate the world with accuracy. Use fall prevention techniques to decrease your risk of falling, which may include taking medication, making home modifications for the elderly, and using brain training exercises.

12. Side-Effects of Medication

As you age, the conditions you develop may require you to take medication. Some medications can have side effects that impact your ability to think clearly and navigate the world. It is important to be aware of how your medications may be affecting you. If you notice side effects, talk to your doctor about alternatives or use fall prevention strategies in your daily life. Some medications that may have side effects that increase fall risk include: (8)

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Sedatives
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anticonvulsants/Mood-stabilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Opioid (narcotic) analgesics
  • Anticholinergics
  • Antihypertensives
  • Medications that affect blood pressure
  • Medications that lower blood sugar

If you are using any of these medications, a wireless medical alert system for seniors can provide you with a sense of security. You can have peace-of-mind knowing that if you fall from the side effects of your medication, you can contact someone for help by simply pressing a button. When you press the button, you will hear a certified emergency response agent talk to you through your device. They will assess your situation through questions and work to get you the help you need.

13. Declined Interest in Physical Activity

As they get older, seniors may lose interest in participating in physical activities such as running, walking, and sports. This could be because they don’t get the same enjoyment out of it as they once did, or because they become tired more quickly.

When seniors stop participating in physical activities, it may cause their strength and mental capabilities to decrease. It is important to keep both the brain and body healthy to decrease the chance of falling. Be sure to do some fall prevention exercises and wear your Alert1 medical emergency alarm with fall detection.

14. Lack of Proper Nutrients

If you want your body to stay strong to reduce the risk of falling, it is important to intake the right nutrients. Some foods that are great for getting the nutrients you need include: (9)

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Dairy (No-fat or low-fat)
  • Lean Meats
  • Seafood
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

15. Effects of Smoking and Alcohol

If you are a smoker or have smoked for a significant amount of time, you may start to see some more consequences as you get older. For instance, it can impact your blood flow and cause cognitive deficits. Alcohol can also negatively impact your cognitive functions and make it difficult to focus. These issues commonly increase seniors’ fall risk. You should avoid smoking and alcohol if you want to keep yourself safe and healthy.

16. Frequent Bathroom Trips

As seniors age, their bodies create less of the hormone that condenses urine. Their bladder floor can weaken. This leads to more frequent bathroom trips. If your home has any obstacles that could cause you to fall, or if you are experiencing muscle weakness, the more times you need to walk to the bathroom, the higher the risk of falling you will have. Bathroom floors can also be slippery and add to this fall risk. Be sure to make any aging in place home modifications you may need.

If you are making frequent bathroom trips, a senior fall alert device with fall detection can help keep you safe. If a fall is detected, a sensor built within the pendant will automatically contact a 24/7 Command Center where an emergency response agent will get you the help you need.

17. Putting on Weight

Metabolism can slow down as you age. This can lead to weight gain. When you have more weight to carry around, you can expend your energy and muscle power more quickly. If your muscles weaken or if you become fatigued, it can lead to a fall. Mild to moderate exercise can help keep your muscles strong and help you lose weight to decrease your risk of falling.

18. Lack of Socialization

Socialization is important for maintaining happiness and cognitive health. Lack of socialization can lead to depression and dulled cognitive abilities. Depression and dulled cognitive abilities can increase your risk of falling. Make time for friends and family regularly. If you have trouble leaving your home, consider a video chat or phone call instead. If you can go out, be sure to wear an on-the-go senior fall alert wrist watch in case you need it.

Fall Prevention While Aging in Place

It is important to pay attention to what conditions and ailments you have that may be contributing to your personal fall risk. Be sure to incorporate any fall prevention techniques you may need, such as purchasing a personal alarm system from Alert1. An aging in place specialist can also suggest home modifications for the elderly as well as recommend other aging in place solutions.

With an Alert1 emergency response solution, you can be assured that help is always just one button-press away. An in-home senior life-saving alert system is perfect for those who mainly stay indoors, while an on-the-go elderly fall alert system is more suited for active seniors seeking protection both indoors and out.



1 Bird, Marie-Louise et al. Nov. 2013. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Age-Related Changes in Physical Fall Risk Factors: Results from a 3 Year Follow-up of Community Dwelling Older Adults in Tasmania, Australia.

2 Heiting, Gary, OD. n.d. How Vision Changes as You Age. All About Vision. How Vision Changes as You Age.

3 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders staff. Statistics about Epidemiology.  National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics about Hearing.

4 Medline Plus Staff. n.d. Medical Encyclopedia. Medline Plus. What Causes Bone Loss?

5 Palacios, Cristina. n.d. PubMed.gov. National Library of Medicine. The Role of Nutrients in Bone Health, from A to Z.

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. n.d. Home and Recreational Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hip Fractures Among Older Adults.

7 HealthinAging staff. n.d. Falls Prevention. HealthinAging. Falls Prevention.

8 Kernisan, Leslie, MD, MPH. n.d. Preventing Falls: 10 Types of Medications to Review if You’re Concerned About Falling. Better Health While Aging. Preventing Falls: 10 Types of Medications to Review if You’re Concerned About Falling.

9 Medline Plus Staff. n.d. Health Topics. Medline Plus. What Causes Bone Loss? Nutrition for Older Adults.