Falls are a primary cause of serious injury and death in older Americans, cautions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, accidental falls are the number one cause of death in elders aged 65 and older. The agency’s press release was issued late last month in conjunction with the 9th Annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
The report comes at a pivotal time considering that more than 10,000 Baby Boomers in the U.S. are turning 65 every day. Health officials warn that the rate of fall-related deaths in American elders is expected to escalate dramatically, resulting in major cost increases unless preventive steps are taken. Statistics illustrate the staggering cost associated with fall-related injuries in our older population. In 2014, an estimated 29 million falls among seniors cost Medicare more than $31 billion.
Falls herald end of independence for some seniors
Falls frequently result in serious injuries, and the elderly are more prone to suffering lasting complications. CDC statistics show that 20 percent of all falls result in broken bones or head injury, and more than 95 percent of hip fractures in seniors are caused by falling sideways. Falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in people aged 65 and older.
“Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence,” noted Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director. Many of these tumbles are entirely preventable, adds Frieden, who stresses that health care professionals, families and friends can be proactive in fall prevention.
Many older adults who experience fall-related injuries will never fully return to their old selves. They may be confined to a wheelchair, or resign themselves to using a walker or cane. A vast majority of seniors lose a part of the independence as they become frailer.
Fall prevention tips
Older Americans who are on various medications, have vision problems and are already having more difficulty with balance and walking are at higher risk of serious falls. CDC officials offer some simple but effective measures to prevent falls in the elderly:
- Ensure older family members have annual eye exams and current prescriptions
- Outfit stairs, bathrooms and showers with hand rails
- Declutter the house and living areas, removing throw rugs or other items that may be trip hazards
- Fix uneven flooring or loose carpeting
- Routinely review medications that may increase risk of falls
- Encourage use of sneakers and other stable foot wear
- Speak to elders about balance problems and recent falls
- Watch for sudden changes in behavior that could signify problems with medication
Committed to client success
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman are highly credentialed personal injury attorneys serving residents throughout New York and New Jersey. Based on theories of premises liability, victims of accidental slips, trips or falls caused by unsafe conditions may be entitled to significant monetary recovery. When faced with catastrophic injuries that have the potential to undermine the quality of your life or those whom you love most, it’s imperative to ally yourself with seasoned legal advocates who can fight for fair compensation.
Call 888.608.9232 to arrange a free case evaluation with Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman today.
- CDC, Falls are leading cause of injury and death in older Americans, cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0922-older-adult-falls.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Important Facts about Falls, http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
- CBS News, Leading cause of injury, death in older Americans is on the rise, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/falls-leading-cause-of-injury-and-death-among-older-americans/