As we age, physical changes and health conditions increase both the probability of falling and the seriousness of resulting injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults aged 65 and older experience a fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among this age group. In 2013 alone, 25,500 seniors died from unintentional fall injuries, 2.5 million nonfatal falls were treated in emergency departments, and the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, were $34 billion.
While statistics show that men are about 40 percent more likely than women to die from a fall, rates of fall-related fractures among older women are more than twice those for men. Falls are also the reason for most fractures experienced by older adults, with the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand being the most commonly fractured body parts. Even those who are not injured in a fall are not immune from its effects – many develop a fear of falling that causes them to limit their activities. This can jumpstart a vicious cycle whereby limited activity leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, which in turn increases the actual risk of falling.
On average, the hospitalization cost for a fall injury is over $35,000.
Hip fractures are the most serious and costly fall-related fracture. In fact, Medicare costs alone for hip fractures as a result of falls are projected to be $240 billion by the year 2040. In an effort to address falls as a national health priority, Congress passed the Safety of Seniors Act in 2007, authorizing a national education campaign for fall prevention and expanding grant opportunities for fall studies. A great resource offered by our state to both individuals and professionals can be found at nofalls.org. And next month on the first day of fall, the eighth annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day will be observed. This year’s theme is “Take a Stand to Prevent Falls.”
Falling does not have to be an inevitable result of aging. Decrease your chances of a fall by:
Reviewing your medications and their side effects
Getting your eyes checked
Wearing properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles
Removing clutter from stairs and floors
Not using throw rugs
Installing grab bars in the bathroom
Steadying yourself with a cane or walker.
If you have any questions about this topic or believe that someone else’s negligence caused your fall, you can find out more by discussing it with the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our online form.
Attorney Billy Johnson
William “Billy” Johnson grew up in the Dorton area of Pike County, Kentucky, and early on decided to stay in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Like many others in Eastern Kentucky, Billy’s dad worked as a coal miner, a hard job but one that taught his son how to meet challenges head on and persevere. Attorney Billy Johnson has years of experience helping injured clients with claims such as car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, wrongful deaths, work injuries, and more. [ Attorney Bio ]