AARP estimates that three out of four Americans over the age of 50 are planning…
Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a nationwide effort to raise awareness that falls are preventable for older adults. This year the week-long national health campaign is being observed from September 18th through the 24th.
Falls among older adults are a big problem within our society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every four Americans aged 65 and older falls each year. These falls result in one American aged 65 and older dying roughly every 20 minutes. Also, according to the CDC, about 3 million emergency department visits and more than 950,000 hospitalizations or transfers to another facility occur because of falls among older adults.
What Happens After a Fall
As elder law attorneys, we know all too well that when our elderly clients fall and injure themselves, it may forever change their lives. Not only is a fall an extremely frightening experience for an elderly client, but it also has the potential to completely alter their lifestyle and future plans.
Falls among older adults can lead to serious injuries such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries, resulting in the need for rehabilitation and long-term care services. Despite the best efforts of rehabilitation, these fall-related injuries often create permanent limitations to mobility, increase the loss of independence, diminish quality of life, and in some cases, cause premature death.
Risks for Falling
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), many factors can cause senior citizens to fall. These factors include:
- Impaired vision or hearing
- Delayed reflexes
- Muscle weakness
- Problems with balance and gait
Blood pressure that drops too much when getting up from lying down or sitting
Health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia issues, and arthritis can also affect balance, physical strength, joint integrity, and cognitive function, all of which can contribute to falls. Other common causes for falls can include medication side effects and safety hazards in the home or community environment.
Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI)
The CDC’s Injury Center created the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) initiative for healthcare providers who treat older adults who are at risk of falling or who may have fallen in the past. The STEADI initiative consists of three core elements:
- Screen patients for fall risk
- Assess modifiable risk factors
- Intervene to reduce risk by using effective clinical and community strategies
In addition to the STEADI initiative, the CDC provides several resources for senior citizens related to fall prevention. Many resources recommend that senior citizens take four actions to prevent falls:
- Medications should be reviewed by a healthcare professional
- Exercise to improve balance and strength
- Routinely have eyes and feet checked by a physician
- Take steps to make the home safer
Fall Prevention Awareness week is a great opportunity to share tips that prevent falls among older adults.
Russo Law Group, P.C.’s elder law attorneys specialize in protecting those with declining health, Alzheimer’s, and other dementia issues that can lead to falls and a need for long-term care services. We invite you to take advantage of our comprehensive website as well as our free seminars and webinars to learn more about how Russo Law Group, P.C. may offer you and your family peace of mind.