Non-adherence to medications increases seniors' risk for falls: study

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Seniors who neglect to take their medications as directed can significantly increase their risk of falls, according to new research.

A recent study of Boston-area seniors found that those who occasionally neglected their medications were 50% more likely to fall than those who took their medications as directed. Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston surveyed 246 men and 408 women with an average age of 78 for the study. Of the seniors in this group, 376 reported experiencing a combined total of 1,052 falls. 

Low adherence to medication schedules is easy to screen for, according to researchers. The seniors surveyed for the study answered simple questions such as, “Do you ever forget to take your medications?” and “Are you careless at times about taking your medications?” Nearly half—48%--did not fully adhere to their medication schedule, according to the report. The article appears in the latest edition of the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences.

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