Falls are leading cause of injuries in older Americans

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Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for people aged 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). A study by Johns Hopkins University found that, in an aging population, falls now surpass car accidents as the leading cause of spinal cord injury among older adults in the U.S.

 

Some sobering statistics collected by shellpoint.org:

  • The risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than men.
  • Two-thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months.
  • Approximately 9,500 deaths in older Americans are associated with falls each year.
  • More than half of all fatal falls involve people 75 or over.
  • Among people aged 65 to 69, one out of every 200 falls results in a hip fracture. That number increases to one out of every 10 for those aged 85 and older.
  • One-fourth of seniors who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months of the injury.

 

 

In addition to injuries, falls can have other negative consequences for older Americans. “Once someone has experienced the trauma of a fall, they can develop a fear of falling again,” according to the Huffington Post. The CDC warns that these fears may cause older adults to cut back on activities, leading to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, conditions that increase their risks of falling. If the person’s fear of falling causes feelings of anxiety, a health care provider might prescribe anti-anxiety medication, such a benzodiazepines. Studies of this group of drugs indicate that they cause higher risks of falls and dementia.

 

Some tips for reducing the danger of falls at home, offered by everydayhealth.com, include:

  • Avoid wearing baggy clothing that bunches up or drags on the ground.
  • Make sure the home is adequately lighted.
  • Wear shoes or non-slip socks.
  • Use non-slip floor mats.
  • Live on one level, or be extra-careful when you negotiate stairs.
  • Move more carefully, and slow down.

Recent research, cited by the alcohol industry, has actually shown that a moderate intake of alcohol can reduce the risk of falls in elderly people. Wine, after all, is a component of the Mediterranean diet, known to be healthy for people of all ages.

 

Richard Manger, principal of Manger Law Firm, has extensive experience in litigation and settlements, with a focus on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. We are proud of the strong relationships of loyalty and trust we develop with our clients. We go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. You can contact Richard Manger via email at ram@mangerlaw.com, or by calling (336) 882-2000.

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