Older Americans Month: Fall Prevention
Falls are serious and costly. One out of every five falls causes a significant injury such as a broken bone or head injury. Once a person has had a fall, it is common that fear of another fall may result in the person limiting their activity. This creates a vicious cycle of decreased activity, and increased weakness leading to an increased chance of another fall.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 2.8 million older Americans are treated in Emergency Departments each year for fall injuries. Hip fractures and Traumatic Brain Injuries account for most of the hospitalizations related to falls. In 2015 medical costs for falls totaled $500 billion, with about 75% of costs paid by Medicare and Medicaid.
To prevent the loss of independence and subsequent costs related to falls, the CDC recommends the following Take Action Steps:
1). Speak Up: Talk openly with your family and healthcare provider about your fall risks and preventive action.
2). Keep Moving: Find activities that strengthen your legs. Tai Chi is an excellent exercise option for strengh and balance.
3). Have Feet and Eyes Checked
4). Make Your Home Safer. Clear away clutter. Install grab bars in the bathroom.
For more information on how to take action, check out the follwoing information brochure from the CDC.
Resource: Center for Disease Control
Written by Terri Knox, RN, CDE