Facts about Falling

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While many factors affect the risk of falling, age is a major contributor. One in three adults over the age of 65 falls once a year. Of those age 65 and over who fall, 20-30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that increase the need for assisted-living care and chances of early death.

Fall Facts:

  • Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in older people
  • Falls are one of the most common problems causing older people to lose their independence
  • For a person 72 or older, the average health care cost of a fall injury is over $20,000

How to Reduce the Risk of Falling:

  • Exercise. Exercise strengthens muscle and can improve balance and coordination. Exercise does not have to be aerobic. Mind/body practices such as yoga or Tai Chi relax as well as strengthen.
  • Fall-proof your home. Almost half of all falls happen at home.
    • Remove clutter that you could trip over
    • Make sure throw rugs are slip-resistant
    • Add handrails to all staircases
    • Wear shoes with non-slip treads
    • Apply non-slip pads or tape to showers and bathtubs
  • Review your medications with your doctor. Combined medications can heighten the risk of falling.
  • Make regular visits to your eye doctor.

External Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls among older adults: An overview. Accessed September 24, 2008. Available at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/adultfalls.htm.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Preventing falls among seniors. Accessed September 24, 2008. Available at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/spotlite/falltips.htm#1.

Author: Dr. Debby Robin

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