Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Accidental Falls; Aged


Falls are a very common and serious problem in the elderly population. Individuals who fall may suffer from physical trauma, psychological problems, and possible death. In the past, falls were thought to be an unavoidable occurrence that accompanied aging. Research has .recently identified risk factors that may predict those who are at risk for falling. By recognizing and then modifying these risk factors, potential falls may be prevented. Examples of risk factors that occur with aging include visual impairments, vestibular decline, deterioration of muscle strength, decrease in joint flexibility, and the loss of sensation. Natural biological declines may have profound effects upon the balance control system and a possible fall could result. An excellent way to impede biological deterioration is through exercise. The purpose of this independent study is to write a literature review on how falls may be prevented in the elderly through recognizing and then modifying risk factors that may be enhanced through balance activities and exercises. An exercise video, available at UND PT Department in Grand Forks, North Dakota, was designed in conjunction with this literature review that will also educate elderly individuals on how to avoid falls through stretching, muscle strengthening, and improvement of balance.