Article from: orthoinfo.aaos.org/Guidelines for Preventing Falls
Falls can happen anytime and anywhere to people of any age. However, as people get older, the number of falls and the severity of injury resulting from falls increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people age 65 and older. Common injuries due to falls are head injuries, shoulder and forearm fractures, spine fractures, pelvic fractures, and hip fractures.
There is a pattern to falls among the elderly: The fear of falling, then the injury, followed by hospitalization, decreased independence and mobility, and often relocation to a nursing or residential institution.
Falls can be a major life-changing event that robs the elderly of their independence.
Fortunately, many falls can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices and safety modifications in the home.
Facts about Falls and the Elderly
- Each year, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls, according to the CDC.
- In 2000, falls among older adults cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $19 billion, according to the CDC. That equals more than $28.2 billion in 2010 dollars.
- According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, more than 90% of hip fractures are caused by falling. Three-quarters of all hip fractures occur in women.
- Approximately 25% of hip fracture patients will make a full recovery; 40% will require nursing home admission; 50% will be dependent upon a cane or a walker; and 20% will die within one year of the fall.