Falls are a serious health issue for older adults. The number of falls for seniors in the United States is likely to increase as the people live longer and the population ages. Below are some facts about falls in the U.S., and ways for seniors and their caregivers to help prevent them.
- Every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall in the United States.
- One in three seniors suffers a fall each year.
- The incidence of falls increases with age.
- In the United States, women over 70 years of age are more likely to suffer a fall and have double the rate of injury compared to men of the same age.
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury like a broken bone.
- Each year, over 2.5 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries.
- More than 90% of hip fractures are caused by falls.
- Falls are the most common cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
What Seniors Can Do
- Do exercises that help with strength and balance such as Tai Chi. These exercises can help the body become better at avoiding falls. Lower body strength exercises are particularly helpful.
- Have your eyes checked. Having an eye exam can identify problems with vision
- Talk to your doctor if you are taking a medication that interferes with balance.
- Talk to your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement – Vitamin D deficiency can be a risk factor for falls.
- Make sure you have proper supportive footwear and talk to your doctor about any foot pain you may be experiencing.
What Caregivers Can Do
- Ensure that the home is safe by installing grab bars near the shower and toilet
- Make sure the home is well lit, and consider installing night lights as well.
- Fix home hazards such as broken or uneven steps or rugs and items that can be tripped over.