Falls and fall-related accidents are the most life-threatening and common medical injuries suffered by older adults. Each year, 1 out of every 3 adults (age 65+) will experience a fall. Falls can result in moderate to severe injury that can dramatically increase the risk of early death. Falls are the number one cause of injury deaths among the senior population in America.
Statistics on Falling
Falls occur more often among older adults because their fall risk factors increase dramatically with aging. These factors are directly associated to specific changes in the mental, physical and emotional conditions of seniors as they “age in place”.
- 33% of older adults (age 65+) fall each year.
- Falls are the #1 cause of injury deaths among seniors.
- Every 29 minutes an older adult dies from a critical fall.
- 1 out of 5 falls cause a life-threatening injury.
- Only 47% of critical falls by older adult patients will make a full recovery.
What Causes Falls & Recurring Falls
Usually 2 or more risk factors interact to cause a senior adult to fall or experience a recurring fall. Here are prime examples of these risk factors that when combined, can cause a critical fall or injury:
- Poor balance
- Diminished reflexes and motor skills
- Low vision
- Loss or partial loss of hearing (imbalance)
- Lack of regular physical exercise (light to moderate levels)
- Lack of muscle strength, overweight
- Medication management and side-effects
- Depression or anxiety/stress
- Home safety hazards
- Improper use and sizing of assistive medical devices
A first time fall can usually lead to repeated falling over a specific and condensed period of time. This is called a “recurring fall” and can happen within a few days or weeks after the first fall event. Recurring falls can occur due to the daily anxiety, emotional and physical stress older adults experience while anticipating when their next sudden fall will happen and where. These stress levels increase when seniors live alone.
Falls Can Be Preventable – 6 Simple Steps to Prevent Falling
Adopting a “culture of safety” by using proven fall prevention strategies and interventions by leading health care organizations and the medical community will potentially reduce falling by up to 75%.
- Schedule an Annual Physical Exam & Fall Risk Screening
- Review & Modify Medications (every six months)
- Vision exam & Update Eyewear
- Regular Exercise Program (light to moderate)
- Home Safety Assessment & Room to Room Walk-Through
- Inspect all medical devices for repair and proper sizing
Adopt our First Response Fall Prevention Safety Plan – 4 Steps
First Response System has created a simple and easy to understand program that will help seniors and their family members understand falling and how to minimize these critical accidents from occurring.
- Step #1: Senior Health – Annual Wellness Appointment to screen, identify and manage your risk of falling.
- Step #2: Senior Home – Home Safety Assessment to conduct a room by room walk-through to identify specific hazards in the home and around the property.
- Step #3: Senior Safety – Home Modification Plan to repair, modify and install
- Step #4: Senior Monitoring – Adopt a personal emergency medical alarm system to monitor medical emergencies as they happen.
Finally, it is important that family members “partner” with their loved one to work together with local health care professionals and social service agencies to enact a comprehensive and straightforward home safety plan that will greatly minimize the risk of falling. Please visit our “Support” web page to request a variety of print and download materials regarding Fall Prevention, Health and Home Safety.