Leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, autumn is definitely here. Fall, on the other hand, is something we want to avoid entirely.
Statistics and data on falls are stunning, especially when discussing senior populations. According to the CDC, death rates among older populations from falls rose 30% from 2007 to 2016. The agency extrapolated that data and has found that if current trends continue, we could see seven deaths from falls every hour by 2030. Over 800,000 people a year find themselves hospitalized because of a fall, and at least 300,000 of those are older Americans who have been hospitalized for a hip fracture. The US spent over $50 billion on medical costs associated with falls in 2015, with Medicare and Medicaid taking the brunt of 75% of those costs. 3 million older Americans will find land in the emergency room over a fall and one in five falls will result in a serious medical injury, including a broken bone or head injury. In fact, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Numbers also show that more than 25% of older Americans fall, but less than half will tell their doctor about it. And a previous fall doubles someone’s chances of falling again.
The National Institute on Aging has compiled a list of things it suggests older Americans do to decrease the likelihood of a fall. The list includes working to stay active and strong. Not only will adequate fitness result in a healthier overall lifestyle, but stronger muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints mean better reactions at the start of a fall that may result in being able to recover before completely falling. The list also includes vision and hearing checks, standing up slowly, and taking care when walking on various surfaces.
While falls are a terrible factor in the aging process, it is possible to lessen their effects and risks through prevention.