In a word, yes. Basically healthy women are more likely to fall, the older they get. They break their ankles, their legs, their hips. It's painful, expensive, and can lead to serious health problems. But it doesn't have to happen.
Do Older Women Fall More?
Five reasons why healthy, older women fall more
1. As we age our reaction time slows down. That means our reflexes don't work as well as they used to. So when we trip, it's harder to regain our balance fast enough to prevent falling.
2. If we are not actively exercising we lose muscle mass, especially in the legs, which makes regaining balance even harder. We lose cushioning in the soles of our feet, which can actually upset balance. (We also tend to lose bone mass, which can make the consequences of falling much more serious.)
3. Changes in vision can increase the risk of falling, especially if you're using bifocals or trifocals. When you look down through the lower half of your glasses, your depth perception may be altered, which makes it easier to lose your balance.
4. The older you get the more likely it is that you're taking medicine for one or more chronic ailments. Some of these medications can have side effects such as dizziness or additionally slowed reflexes.
5. Drinking alcoholic beverages slows reflexes, alters balance, and can cause dizziness and lightheadedness. And, for many people, the older they get the more drinking alcohol affects them.
Three ways to reduce your chances of falling
1. Make sure you are eating a balanced, healthy diet that contains the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain your energy and strengthen your bones.
2. Find an exercise program that's right for you and then exercise regularly to retain and rebuild your muscles and increase your bone mass. If you haven't exercised in a long time, start slowly. If you have special health concerns, check with your doctor first. Make certain that this program includes special exercises that improve balance. Research has demonstrated that balance exercises can reduce falling.
3. Walk mindfully. If you're on a path with loose gravel or tree roots, watch where you put your feet. Be aware of steps and use a handrail when available. Avoid walking on ice or oil slicks.
Author's note: When I was in my early 60s I started falling fairly often while walking my dogs in a densely wooded area. Because I was taking yoga lessons, I began to practice a yoga balance exercise daily. Today, at 80, I still practice my yoga balance exercise several times a week. I've hardly fallen in years.
Caution: Check with your doctor if you suspect a chronic or more serious balance problem involving vertigo, ear infections, Meniere's disease, chronic dizziness or drug interactions.