Now that fall is finally upon us, it’s time to discuss something very important to us at Sunflower Home Health. That topic is falls prevention. It is important to raise awareness about the added risk of older adult falls and how to reduce them. Many older Americans live alone, and are at risk for falling and inuring themselves with no way of alerting their family or emergency services that they are in need of help. This blog will discuss those risks and provide tips to make sure you and/or your loved ones are safe.
Falls are a major cause of unintentional death and injury, but also pose an especially significant threat to the health and independence of older Americans. According to the National Safety Council, each year, more than one in four adults aged 65 and older experience a fall. This results in 3 million emergency department visits for fall injuries, over 800,000 hospitalizations, and 30,000 deaths.
A recent CDC publication found that deaths due to a fall increased more than 30% between 2007 and 2016, with more than 60% of states reporting an increase in fall deaths. By 2030, 59,000 older Americans, or 162 per day, are projected to die from a fall. Falls are already the number one cause of preventable injury-related death for those 65 and older.
In addition to rising death rates, the medical costs associated with falls are sizable. According to the Wiley Online Library, in 2015, total medical costs to treat older adult falls exceeded $50 billion. As the U.S. baby boomer population ages, both the number of fall injuries and the resulting expenditures are expected to increase substantially if more is not done to prevent falls.
Fall injuries can vary in their severity, but often result in a traumatic brain injury or hip fracture. These more serious injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, perform everyday activities, or live on their own. Many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear may cause them to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker, and this increases their chances of falling again.
The promising news is that falls are not an inevitable part of aging and many falls can be prevented. A new CDC report showed that U.S. healthcare providers are able to prevent thousands of falls by using what we know works. The study found that implementing specific evidence-based fall prevention interventions (e.g., medication management, home modifications led by a Sunflower Home Health occupational therapist) on a large scale could avert between $94 and $442 million in direct medical costs annually, not to mention improve the health and wellbeing of older Americans.
Tips for Preventing Falls:
- Clean up clutter
- Repair or remove tripping hazards
- Install grab bars and handrails
- Avoid wearing loose clothing
- Make sure your home is well lit
- Wear proper shoes
- Taking medication on time
- Wearing your glasses or contacts
- Making sure surfaces are not slippery
- Utilize stair hand rails or insist on assistance
Sunflower Home Health is here to help if you have any questions about falls prevention awareness. Please don’t hesitate to navigate to the contact us form on our website and reach out or give us a call at your local office. Those numbers are listed below:
- Charleston – (662) 647-0653
- Clarksdale – (662) 624-4141
- Cleveland – (662)756-4676
- Greenwood – (662) 455-3535
- Grenada – (662) 294-0726
- Indianola – (662) 887-1518
At Sunflower Home Health, we truly believe that education and awareness are the keys to making the Mississippi Delta a healthy and safe place to live, something that we are committed to making a reality.