Fractures can severely limit daily activity and reduce independence. Research has found that within one year of experiencing a hip fracture, more than half require assistance with activities of daily living and between 20 and 30 percent of patients will die.
Overall, unintentional falls result in about 33,000 deaths of older adults in the U.S. each year.
In an effort to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in the elderly, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new recommendations to prevent falls and fractures in older adults, according to CBS News.
"Osteoporotic fractures [those linked to the bone-weakening condition osteoporosis] and falls are fairly common and they can have a big impact on people's quality of life so anything to improve on that is important," Dr. Alex Krist, a professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and USPSTF vice chair, told CBS News.
One major point of guidance from the USPSTF is that adults 65 years or older who are at increased risk of falling should exercise. Factors such as older age, a history of falling, or issues with mobility, gait or balance put a person at increased risk.
"There's fairly good evidence that this works well, so for community-dwelling adults [those who live at home and not in a nursing home or other institutional care setting] who are at risk of falling we're recommending exercise to help prevent falls," Krist said.
The length and type of exercise should be tailored for individual patients by a health care provider, the researchers say.
"[For] a 65-year-old who is having some concerns of falls but is also pretty active, a group exercise program of Tai Chi at the community rec center might work very well," Krist explained, "whereas an older individual who might be more frail or not even be able to walk well on their own, something more like physical therapy, one on one, might be needed."
Read the full story on these new guidelines at CBS News.