Fall Prevention and Facts
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Each year, one in every three adults ages 65 or older falls and 2 million are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries. And the risk of falling increases with each decade of life. The long-term consequences of fall injuries, such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), can impact the health and independence of older adults. Thankfully, falls are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, many falls can be prevented. Everyone can take actions to protect the older adults they care about.
- Get some exercise. Lack of exercise can lead to weak legs and this increases the chances of falling. Exercise programs such as Tai Chi can increase strength and improve balance, making falls much less likely.
- Be mindful of medications. Some medicines—or combinations of medicines—can have side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness. This can make falling more likely. Having a doctor or pharmacist review all medications can help reduce the chance of risky side effects and drug interactions.
- Get vision checked regularly, and keep glasses clean and scratch free. Poor vision can make it harder to get around safely.
- Eliminate hazards at home. About half of all falls happen at home. A home safety check can help identify potential fall hazards that need to be removed or changed, such as tripping hazards, clutter, and poor lighting.
Home Safety Checklist
- Remove things you can trip over (such as papers, books, clothes, and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
- Install handrails and lights on all staircases.
- Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- Put grab bars inside and next to the tub or shower and next to your toilet.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
- Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
Facts About Falls:
- Fall injuries are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions.
- The average hospital cost for a fall injury is $35,000.
- The costs of treating fall injuries goes up with age.
- Medicare pays for about 78% of the costs of falls.
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries
- Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
- Each year at least 250,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling,6 usually by falling sideways.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
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