For those who take advantage of assisted living care to help reduce falls, new research suggests that treating an inner ear condition that reduces balance may limit the risk.
At Johns Hopkins University, researchers focused on a group of people which may number more than 22 million and had not had a previous issue with their balance or equilibrium.
The condition, known as vestibular dysfunction, was most commonly found in the elderly and among diabetics, with those in their 80s being 23 times more likely to suffer from the condition than those in their 40s.
"Now that we have identified the magnitude of balance problems, primary care physicians are more likely to be on the look out for its early signs and symptoms, and more attuned to when a patient needs to be referred to a physical therapist," says lead investigator Dr Yuri Agrawal.
Those in assisted living facilities may also benefit from exercise programs designed to improve balance, according to a Cochrane Review that found a decrease in the rate of falls among seniors involved with exercise programs that promoted flexibility and balance such as Tai Chi.