Unless you’re playing a contact sport with plenty of padded gear, falling is something you’ll want to avoid. Not only can trips, slips, and spills be painful, but falls often lead to serious — and costly — injuries.
One In Five Falls Results In Serious Injury
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments following a fall in their home or the community. About 20 percent of these patients suffer from severe injuries such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, torn ligaments, and dislocated joints.
Seniors 65 and older are at the most significant risk of falling, with one in four experiencing at least one fall each year. Once a senior falls, their chances of falling again double. Even if they never fall again, the fear of falling can lead to social isolation, loss of mobility, and depression.
The High Cost Of Falls
Because injuries resulting from a fall usually involve hip, ankle, wrist, or arm fractures, so simple everyday tasks can become difficult. Fall victims may have trouble getting around their homes, navigating their community, or even performing basic self-care tasks such as bathing and dressing.
Older adults are often forced to move into a care facility after they’ve suffered fall-related injuries, and rehabilitation or nursing care costs thousands per month. Even hiring in-home assistance such as a home health aide or a homemaker averages between $4,290 and $4,385 per month, and that’s on top of hospital bills, insurance co-pays, and expenses that are not covered through Medicaid or other plans.
What Causes Falls?
Several known risk factors increase the chances of falling at any age, such as:
- Dizziness due to acute or chronic illness, or that’s a side-effect of prescription or over-the-counter medications
- Vision loss
- Alcohol consumption
- Low Vitamin D levels
- Poor muscle tone, especially in the lower extremities
- Foot pain caused by bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis, or diabetic nephropathy
- Erratic blood sugar or blood pressure levels
- In-home hazards such as uneven floors, slippery surfaces, or even tripping hazards such as a family pet
How To Prevent Falls
While it’s impossible to eliminate the risk of falling altogether, you can do several simple things to minimize the odds that you’ll suffer from an expensive, painful fall-related injury.
Start by staying up-to-date on your medical checks to monitor for conditions that increase the risk of falling. If you are taking medications that make you feel weak or dizzy, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Contact your local senior center or recreation department to ask about fall prevention classes and exercise groups to improve balance and lower body strength.
And if you’d like to make your bathroom, stairs, and other high-risk areas safer, contact us here at Copper Star Home Medical. We stock various quality grab bars, stand poles, lift chairs, and manual mobility aids that can dramatically reduce your risk of suffering a debilitating and costly fall.