The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, as of March 2015, that falls are the "leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries" among older adults. Further, "in 2013, about 25,000 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries." The CDC describes outcomes that include traumatic brain injury, hip fractures, and other broken bones.
A fall can literally be the beginning of the end for otherwise healthy, older adults. A fall can bring about the end of independent living. It can create the conditions for other chronic diseases, illnesses that might not have been present before the fall, to emerge. It can change senior citizens' quality of life for the rest of their lives, even if they survive the actual fall.
But as the CDC and so many other authorities point out, falls are preventable. Yes, falls are accidents, but accidents can sometimes be avoided. Visit the CDC's page on falls and fall prevention for more information. The National Institute on Aging (NIH) also has good information about fall prevention, including tips on making homes safe for older adults.
Are you an older adult?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 1 out of 3 older adults falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor.
- 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or head trauma.
The good news? Most falls can be prevented!
Are you a caregiver or loved one of an older adult?
- Check for safety in your loved one’s home.
- Try these six steps for reducing falls.
- Learn about common myths surrounding older adult falls.
Are you a medical provider for older adults?
Implement the STEADI Fall Risk Assessment into your medical practice. All materials are free categorical measurements of risk, and the assessment takes minimal time to conduct during a medical appointment.
According to the CDC, you should:
- Ask your patients 3 Questions:
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
- Do you worry about falling?
If your patient answers "yes" to any of these key screening questions, they are considered at increased risk of falling. Further assessment is recommended.
- Review medications, and stop, switch, or reduce the dosage of drugs that increase fall risk.
- Recommend vitamin D supplements of at least 800 IU/day with calcium.
Want to connect with a community-based falls prevention program in Tennessee?
Contact the Tennessee Falls Prevention Coalition through Anna Lea Cothron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source URL: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
Source Agency: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Reference Date: 2015-07-02