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West Virginia is ranked second nationally for the percent of its population .65 years of age. The elderly are especially susceptible to falls with fall risk increasing as age increases. Because falls are the number one cause of injury-related morbidity and mortality in the West Virginia elderly, evaluation of fall risk is a critical component of the patient evaluation in the primary care setting. We therefore highlight fall risk assessments that require no specialized equipment or training and can easily be completed at an established office visit. High quality clinical practice guidelines supported by the American Geriatric Society recommend yearly fall risk evaluation in the elderly. Those seniors at greatest risk of falls will benefit from the standardized therapy protocols outlined and referral to a balance treatment center. Patients with low-to-moderate fall risk attributed to muscle weakness or fatigue should be prescribed lower extremity strengthening exercises, such as kitchen counter exercises, to improve strength and balance.


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