You never think it will happen to you, and then it does. In a split second your life can be changed forever. How many people in your circle do you know that have fallen?
My circle includes my amazing mom who fell and broke her pelvis because she got dizzy from a medication change, my dear Aunt Marie who tripped on her small poodle which resulted in a broken hip and shoulder. Then she fell again during rehab and broke her other hip because she was still weak from her first fall.
It even happened to me! I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle at Ft. DeSoto Park due to a distracted driver and I broke my back, pelvis, shoulder and knee cap 10 years ago. You would think I would have learned but no, I tripped on a sprinkler head while walking our dog Buster in the dark and broke my arm. Where was my flashlight? Why wasn’t I paying attention instead of texting on my phone? Why did I have that glass of wine before my walk? An accident waiting to happen. And it did. A Perfect Storm.
Many Factors Contribute To Falls.
Your overall health is a significant factor in predisposing you to falls, along with other related factors such as your vision, medication taken and recent surgery. Environmental challenges related to the loss of strength and balance as you age also make falls more likely, and some demographic factors also contribute.
DID YOU KNOW?
· FALLS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IF YOU ARE OVER 65
· ALMOST 90% OF FRACTURES IN 65+ AGE GROUP ARE DUE TO FALLS
· 2/3 OF THOSE WHO FALL WILL FALL AGAIN WITHIN 6 MONTHS
· IF HOSPITALIZED FOR A FALL YOUR STAY WILL BE 2X LONGER THAN THOSE ADMITTED FOR ANOTHER REASON
· 50% OF PERSONS WHO FALL CANNOT GET UP WITHOUT HELP IF THEY ARE NOT INJURED WHICH CAN RESULT IN:
· PRESSURE SORES
Falls can be serious and their costs are staggering
Falls in adults aged 65+ are the leading cause of head injuries and broken hips, with one in ten falls resulting in serious injuries such as hip fracture, other fractures, subdural hematoma, or traumatic brain injury.
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries for people in every stage of life, and result in 800,000 total hospitalizations in America each year.
Bottom line: falls are a huge health issue among older adults and are at greater risk of falling in their day-to-day activities resulting in serious injury. Let’s run some numbers!
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall
According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year.
In 2014, older Americans experienced 29 million falls, resulting in 7 million injuries.
Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall
More than 300,000 people are hospitalized each year from broken hips, and 95 percent of these fractures are the result of a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults, and the most frequent reason for non-fatal trauma as well.
Falls take a psychological toll as well: up to 50% of those who fear falling limit or exclude social or physical activities because of this fear.
Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
A full 80 percent of falls happen in the bathroom, according to NewsUSA, quoting a National Institute on Aging statistic. In addition, for older people who in the community, 30%–50% of falls are due to environmental causes
(eg, poor lighting, slippery floors, and uneven surfaces)
According to Medical Alert Advice, one in three adults has trouble getting into and out of the bathtub or shower.
Average cost for treating a fall is $30,000.
What will the total cost of falls in the USA could reach by 2020? $67,000,000,000
Don’t’ FALL! Take our Fall Prevention Quiz.
· Do you have a pet?
· Do you wear sensible shoes most of the time? Not flip flops or high heels?
· Do you have stairs to enter your home or condo?
· If you have entry stairs, do you have a handrail? On both sides? Can you access it?
· Do you have a place to put down your packages when unlocking the door?
· Do you have lighting in your entry area? Is it motion-sensored or on a timer?
· Do you have grab bars installed in your bathing area?
· Do you have a handheld shower unit? Is there a shower bench or a place to sit down?
· Do you have indoor stairs? With handrails on both sides?
· How much clutter is on the floor?
· Do you have any throw rugs?
· Do you have motion-sensor nightlights for when you need to get up at night to use the toilet?
· Do you have difficulty getting up/down from the toilet? Do you have a comfort height toilet?
· What about the kitchen area? Do you have your heavy items stored in an area where you can access them safely?
· Do you have a alert system? An Apple Watch activated for Fall Detection?
What can you do RIGHT NOW WITHOUT SPENDING MUCH!
1. Clean up clutter. The easiest method for preventing falls is to keep your home neat and tidy. Remove all clutter especially from hallways and staircases. Reorganize your kitchen to make items easy to access without a stepstool.
2. Repair or remove tripping hazards. Check every room and hallway, looking for items such as loose items, slippery throw rugs, or wood floorboards that stick up. Then repair, remove, or replace those items.
3. Install grab or assist bars and handrails. These safety devices are crucial for going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and stepping in and out of the shower or bathtub without injuring yourself. New for 2019 Medicare Advantage customers can get these covered if recommended by a medical professional!
4. Avoid wearing loose clothing. Baggy clothes can sometimes make you more likely to trip and fall. Opt for better-fitting and properly hemmed so that it does not drag on the ground.
5. Light it right. Inadequate lighting is another major hazard. To create a home that’s more suitable, install brighter light bulbs, particularly in stairways and narrow hallways. Install inexpensive motion sensored night-lights in bedrooms and bathrooms for better guidance at night. Entry lighting should be bright and on a timer or motion sensored for times when you get home after dark.
6. Wear shoes. Preventing falls at home can be as simple as wearing shoes not flip-flops. You can also purchase non-slip socks that have grips on the soles of the feet if shoes are too uncomfortable.
7. Make it nonslip. Bathtubs and showers, as well as floors in kitchens, bathrooms, and porches, can become extremely dangerous when wet. To prevent falls on slick surfaces install nonslip mats.
8. Move more carefully and take your time. Many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. When getting up from bed try to just sit for a minute before you stand up to prevent a dizzy spell.
9. Pay attention. Do one thing at a time. Don’t text and walk. Be aware of your pet’s location especially when food is involved. Attach a bell to his/her bright colored collar so you can see/hear them better.
10. Ask for help. If ceiling lightbulbs need changing , high windows need washing or gutters need cleaning DO NOT get on a ladder or step stool without help or asking someone to assist you.
11. Think ahead and be smart. A scooter, an accessible vehicle or other assistive devices can increase safety and independence! Visit us at Custom Mobility to see what is available. We are here to help you live life to the fullest! Custom Mobility Inc. located @ 7199 Byran Dairy Road Largo, FL 33777 Or call us: 727-539-8199
12. Go to the FREE Defying Gravity, Fall Prevention Play by SAGES (Senior Actors Guild & Education Services) on Saturday April 27 2-3:30 at the Largo Community Center, 400 Alt Keene Rd, Largo FL 33771
Register for free: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/denying-gravity-in-largo-a-unique-theater-experience-for-older-adults-tickets-47930225595