A simple fall down the stairs or a slip in the kitchen might seem like no big deal to a lot of people, but there is a section of the population for whom that could mean serious injury or even potentially death. What may seem like a simple injury for the young and mobile, the Centers For Disease Control actually reports falling as the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults.
Falling By The Numbers
With the CDC report on falling being the lead cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries, it’s important to look at those numbers to find out exactly what that means. The CDC has reported over 3 million older adults being treated in emergency rooms for injuries that occurred as a result of falling, with over 800,000 patients being hospitalized. Most of those hospitalizations are a result of a head injury or hip fracture. Falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. All of these statistics add up to a lot of money as well, with the healthcare costs of these accidents exceeding $50 billion. The effects felt by these falls aren’t always seen right away, either. They’re often the starting point for elderly men and women to lose their independence and become unable to live alone.
Why Are The Elderly More Susceptible To These Serious Injuries?
It’s important to remember that young people are also prone to serious injuries due to falls, but the risks for the elderly are much greater. Getting older can come with a lot of health issues that make these accidents not only occur more frequently, but have a more disastrous result when they do occur. Losing your sense of balance or strength can come with age due to a variety of factors, including both physical and mental health concerns that accompany aging. These concerns include blood pressure fluctuations, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, vision and hearing loss, and side effects to certain medications. Additionally, lack of physical activity, which many elderly people see naturally as they age, can put you at a greater risk for falls.
How Can You Prevent Falling?
If you or a family member is concerned about mobility and the ability to walk properly and safely, it’s time to evaluate certain lifestyle choices to set yourself up for success. You should continue getting annual eye exams, participate in some sort of fitness program that is appropriate to your abilities and coordination, and maintain a healthy diet while avoiding excessive alcohol consumption. If you are on regular medication, learn about how those may affect your coordination and abilities, and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. Additionally, you should be concerned about how your house is arranged. Make sure to take appropriate precautions with furniture placement to minimize tripping, keep rooms well lit, and make sure that all furniture is easy to get in and out of. Use non-slip rugs in the bathroom, clean any spills as soon as they happen, and make sure all tile or carpet is secured properly.
How Should I React If I Do Fall?
If you do fall, it’s important not to panic. If you’re alone in your home, try and get to a phone to call 911 or a nearby family member for help. If you live in a home with other people, or with nursing help available, call for help and minimize your movements in case of injury.
Of course, even those who don’t consider themselves elderly-or even middle age- can find themselves injured from a fall. Shoulders, wrists, and backs are easily injured in a fall. If you have fallen and have sustained an injury from that fall, proper care and rehabilitation are crucial to get you back to your proper health and to minimize accidents in the future. Capital Ortho provides these sort of treatments, from surgery if necessary to physiotherapy. Make an appointment today to get back on your feet and healed as soon as possible.