I have been giving some thought lately to sarcopenia of aging. Below is a description of the condition (see: Sarcopenia With Aging):
From the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass and function, a condition known as ...sarcopenia with aging. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30....Although there is no generally accepted test or specific level of muscle mass for sarcopenia diagnosis, any loss of muscle mass is of consequence, because loss of muscle means loss of strength and mobility. Sarcopenia typically accelerates around age 75 ...and is a factor in the occurrence of frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults.
Slips, trips, and falls are a significant source of morbidity and mortality among the aged due to a decreasing sense of balance and gait but also attributable to muscle weakness and bone fragility as well as other factors (see: Falls and Older Adults).The primary treatment for sarcopenia of aging is physical training to increase muscle strength and endurance using weights or resistance bands. A few drugs are also being investigated for the treatment of sarcopenia but no miracle cures seem to be on the horizon (see: Sarcopenia With Aging):
Here's some information about the frequency and cost of falls in the elderly (see: Falls in the Elderly):
Annually, 30 to 40% of elderly people living in the community fall; 50% of nursing home residents fall. In the US, falls are the leading cause of accidental death and the 7th leading cause of death in people ≥ 65; 75% of deaths caused by falls occur in the 13% of the population who are ≥65. In 2000, direct medical costs for fall injuries totaled $20 billion. By 2020, the costs are projected to reach $44 billion.
It's possible that modest gains in gait and balance can be achieved with the elderly by interventions (see: Gait and Balance Disorders in Older Adults):
Because most gait and balance disorders in older persons are multifactorial in origin, they usually require several modes of treatment to restore, maintain, or improve functional capacity. In most cases, it is unlikely that gait disorders are reversible; however, modest improvements in gait and balance may be achievable, and interventions may impact important functional outcomes, such as reduction in rates of falls, fear of falling, weight-bearing pain, and overall limitations in mobility.