13 Unlucky Facts - Elder Falls
Each year, millions of elderly people (those 65 and older) fall.
More than one out of four older people falls each year.
FACT 1: Less than half tell their doctor.
FACT 2: Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
FACT 3: Falls are serious and costly.
FACT 4: One out of five falls cause a serious injury (broken bones or a head injury).
FACT 5: Each year, 3,000.000 elders are treated in emergency rooms for falling.
FACT 6: Over 800,000 patients are hospitalized annually because of a fall injury,
FACT 7: Most hospitalizations are because of a head injury or hip fracture.
FACT 8: Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
FACT 10: More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling (usually sideways).
FACT 11: Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
FACT 12: In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion.
FACT 13: Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of the cost of all falls.
What Can Happen After a Fall?
Many falls do not cause injuries. But (FACT 4) one out of five falls does cause a serious injury such broken bones or a head injuries. These injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live on their own. When we say broken bones, we're talking about wrists, arms, ankles and hip fractures. Falls can cause head injuries. These can be very serious, especially if the person is taking certain medicines (like blood thinners). An older person who falls and hits their head should see their doctor right away to make sure they don’t have a brain injury.
Many people who fall (even the uninjured) become afraid of falling. This fear may cause a person to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling.
8 Non-Fictitious, Risk Factors
Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. These are called risk factors. Correcting and/or understanding these risk factors may help prevent falls.
RISK FACTOR 1: Lower body weakness
RISK FACTOR 2 Vitamin D deficiency (not enough vitamin D in your system)
RISK FACTOR 3: Difficulties with walking and balance
RISK FACTOR 4: Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives or antidepressants
RISK FACTOR 5:Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance.
RISK FACTOR 6 :Vision problems
RISK FACTOR 7: Foot pain or poor footwear
RISK FACTOR 8: Home hazards such as broken, uneven steps, throw rugs or any clutter that can be tripped over
Most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling. Healthcare providers can help cut down a person’s risk by reducing the fall risk factors listed above. Falls can be prevented.
3 Things to Ask Your Doctor
Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.
Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about taking vitamin D supplements.
7 Tips to Staying on Your Feet
Some people think of 7 as being a lucky number. We think these seven tips will keep you safe. No luck needed.
SAFETY TIP 1: Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance. Tai Chi is a good example of this kind of exercise.
SAFETY TIP 2: Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed. If you have bifocals or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes bifocals can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
SAFETY TIP 3: Get rid of things you could trip over.
SAFETY TIP 4: Secure your bathing areas. Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
SAFETY TIP 5: Put railings on both sides of stairs.
SAFETY TIP 6: Make sure your home has lots of light (add brighter light bulbs).
SAFETY TIP 7: Keep items you use often in cabinets you can easily reach.
We care abut your health, and we hope you share this information with loved ones or the elders in your life. For more information you may want to read our other blog article.
Below is a fall prevention conversation guide for caregivers. We found it useful and we hope you do too.