A third of all older adults fall every year, but less than half of seniors discuss fall-related concerns with healthcare providers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is particularly troubling considering that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors. Read on to learn more about falls and older adults, along with preventative measures caregivers can take to ensure the ongoing health and safety of the seniors in their care.
A Closer Look at Falls and Seniors
Millions of older Americans fall every year. Just how severe is the problem? The CDC determined that in 2013 alone, U.S. emergency rooms treated 2.5 million nonfatal senior falls resulting in 734,000 hospitalizations. Common fall-related injuries include lacerations, hip fractures and head traumas. Unfortunately, these injuries can not only detrimentally impact your aging loved one's mobility and independence, but can also increase the risk of premature death.
In addition to injuries from falls, seniors also suffer from another troubling phenomenon: fear of falling. Even seniors who survive falls with no injury can develop fear of falling, leading to limited activities and loss of strength and flexibility. Unfortunately, this becomes a vicious cycle: the corresponding decrease in physical fitness may actually increase the risk of actual falls.
Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for adults aged 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Considering that a third of senior citizens fall every year, it's no surprise that falls and fear of falling are a serious concern for seniors and their caregivers. Read on to learn about ways to prevent falls and boost independence through fall-prevention techniques.
Understanding the Facts
Of the 2.3 million injuries that occur each year due to falls, just under 700,000 of them require hospitalization. Common injuries include hip fractures, lacerations, and head traumas.
Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and fractures. But it's not just the injured who walk away with scars. As they age, many seniors develop an immobilizing fear of falling. If left untreated, this can have dire consequences, including a debilitating decline in mobility. A corresponding decline in fitness further increases a senior's risk of falling while also increasing the odds of isolation and depression.
Do you remember watching those old Laurel and Hardy movies where one or the other would fall down a flight of stairs or inadvertently slip on a rug and end up flat on their back? It seemed funny at the time especially since after each fall, they were able to recover quickly and move on to the next spill. Falls are certainly not funny when it comes to elders; in fact according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Each year, an estimated one third of older adults fall, and the likelihood of falling increases substantially with advancing age. In fact, falls are one of the leading causes of death due to injury among the elderly.