Preventing Falls Among Seniors

Sep 23, 2014
Today is Fall Prevention Awareness Day. Simple steps can help prevent the risk of a fall among older adults.
Tags
  • Commercial
  • Medicare
  • Seniors
  • Caregivers

With age, come many chronic conditions and health problems that can pose risks to seniors. However, falls are a very common, preventable cause of injury and death among older adults.

The death rate from falls among older adults increased 42% from 2000 to 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The statistics around death and injury from falls are eye-opening.

  • More than 21,700 older Americans die annually from injuries related to unintentional falls.
  • In 2012, more than 2.4 million older adults were treated in emergency departments for falls – one every 15 seconds.
  • The total cost of fall injuries for older Americans is estimated to be $36.4 billion.
  • By 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $54.9 billion.

The problem is so prevalent that the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the issue, and Sept. 23 is the 7th Annual Fall Prevention Awareness Day.

Simple steps can help prevent the risk of a fall among older adults, including regular vision and hearing checks, removing tripping hazards and improving lighting in the home.

Medication safety and adherence also can play a key role.

  • Certain conditions such as low blood pressure can result in symptoms that increase the risk of falls. Stay adherent to the prescribed medication regimen.
  • Get a fall risk assessment from your healthcare provider. Share your history of recent falls.
  • Talk to the pharmacist or doctor about medications. Many medications can have side effects that increase the risk of falling.
  • Do not self-adjust medication. Self-adjusting dosage can often increase side effects or raise the risk of adverse drug interactions.
  • If you are unsure about your medication and the risks associated with it, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

For more information on fall prevention, visit NCOA.org/fallsprevention.

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