As we get older losing our balance during the course of regular day to day events can happen easier than we think. The daily activities we take for granted when we are younger can hold surprising risks as we age.
Our elderly loved ones falling is no laughing matter. As we age, falls can become increasingly common and risky for seniors.
What are the Facts About the Risks of Falling?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention illustrates a daunting picture by telling us that “more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half that fall tell their doctor. Elderly people who fall once have twice the chances of falling again.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Report shares some alarming statistics relating to elderly and falls:
- Falls by the elderly are the underlying cause of 10-15% of all emergency department visits. More than 50% of injury-related hospitalizations are with people 65 years and older. The major underlying causes for fall-related hospital admissions include hip fracture, traumatic brain injuries and upper limb injuries.
- The duration of hospital stays due to falls varies; however, it is much longer than other injuries and can range from 4 to 15 days.
- Falls may also result in a post-fall syndrome that includes dependence, loss of autonomy, confusion, immobilization and depression, which will lead to a further restriction in daily activities.
- Falls account for 40% of all injury deaths among people 65 years and older.
- The fall fatality rate for people aged 65 and older in the United States of America is 36.8 per 100,000 population (46.2 for men and 31.1 for women).
- The fatality rate for falls and fall related injuries increase exponentially with age for both sexes, highest at the age of 85 years and over.
- Rates of fatal falls among men exceed that of women for all age groups in spite of the fewer occurrences of falls among them. This is attributed to the fact that men suffer from more co-morbid conditions than women of the same age.
With the ominous nature of all of these facts there is still a great deal that can be done to prevent falls and ways to adapt if your senior loved one does experience a fall. Even so, awareness is important to prevention of falls.