The Latest Statistics on Falls
Did you know that 1 in 4 seniors will suffer a serious fall in their lifetime? Slipping and tripping used to be no problem when we were young: you’d dust yourself off and go on your merry way. But as we age, our sense of balance and our strength goes, leaving us vulnerable to broken bones, displaced joints, and not being able to get back up after a fall.
To keep you informed of the latest in fall statistics, we’ve noted the most important information for you about falls, according to the National Council on Aging:
1) Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and nonfatal, trauma related hospital admissions among older adults. That’s 2.8 million injuries treated at hospitals and over 800,000 hospital beds filled every year! Also, between 12,800 and 27,000 deaths a year were caused by falls in older adults.
2) In 2013 falls cost Americans 34 billion dollars, and that number is projected to nearly double by 2020.
3) 87% of all fractures from the elderly are due to falls
4) 40% of all nursing home admissions started with a fall. 40% of those admitted never return and 25% die within the first year
5) Your risk of falling goes up after having a stroke – up to 40% of people who have suffered a stroke will fall within the next year
Sound scary? While falling is a serious problem for the elderly, there are things you and your elder can do to prevent falls:
1) Limit limiting activities because of the fear of falling – it sounds counterintuitive, but when you limit moving because you are afraid to fall, you let your balance, coordination and strength slide away, and those are your biggest weapons in the war against fall! Get plenty of exercise, move around, and keep your body in shape so you can keep living your life to the fullest AND keep the balance and strength to survive a fall. Yes, know your limits, but don’t limit yourself too much!
2) Keep your house trip-hazard free and well-lit – Keeping low furniture off your floor and towards your walls, putting away clutter and securing rugs, and keeping your house well-lit so you can spot trip hazards will help prevent falls in your home!
3) Install grab bars – Most household accidents happen in the bathroom. Installing grab bars there will help you catch yourself if you slip or trip!
4) Wear no-slip shoes and be mindful of footwear and your surroundings – Wear comfortable shoes with good sole traction and watch where you step!
For more information, you can check out Safety In Place, where we go more in-depth about preventing falls and have the tools you need to remain fall free and age in place!