Death rates from falls have risen sharply over the past 10 years, becoming the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults.
- One out of three adults over age 65 will fall each year, resulting in direct medical costs of about $30 billion annually.
- In 2010, some 2.3 million seniors were treated in hospital emergency departments following falls, and 21,700 died of injuries sustained in a fall.
- Residents of assisted living or skilled nursing facilities are twice as likely to fall as those who live independently.
- Florida, for its part, is well below the national average for fall-related injuries in nursing homes.
Older adults can reduce their chances of falling through various methods:
- Exercise and stay mobile. Such movement-oriented activities as Tai Chi, stretching and walking can help significantly.
- Review medications with a physician to identify those that can cause dizziness or drowsiness.
- Go for regular eye exams, and keep any eyeglass prescriptions up to date.
- Reduce or eliminate tripping hazards in hallways, add guardrails in showers and bathrooms, and improve lighting in your home.
- Identify and/or treat osteoporosis.
Where to turn for more info:
- Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview
(The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Simple Tips to Prevent Falls
- The Latest in Falls Prevention
(National Council on Aging)