The unexpected death of famed singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen after falling in his LA home brings up a growing problem among older adults.
The number of older Americans treated for falls over the last decade has nearly doubled and fatal falls are at an all-time high. The rate of fatal falls has increased over 150% yet the reality is that most of these falls, if not all of them, can be prevented. Every 13 seconds, an older adult is rushed to an emergency room because of a fall. So many older adults are falling that it is now the leading cause of accidental death among those over 65.
“A fall changes everything”, says Steven Bailey Founder of Age Safe America. “An otherwise functioning person can loose their independence forever in the flash of a moment, and a serious fall could be the beginning of the end for many.” The one year mortality for patients who are admitted to the hospital after a fall is a staggering 33 percent. Fall related injuries and deaths are skyrocketing and cost over $30 billion a year to treat.
Many of these falls, and the resulting injuries, can be prevented by taking steps to eliminate or fix potential hazards in and around the home. An Age Safe Advisor Member can perform a Home Safety Assessment and make recommendations to help decrease the risk of falls or injuries in your home. A comprehensive Home Safety Assessment can pay for itself by avoiding the high costs of injury or institutional care. Studies show a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population.
According to the AARP nearly 90% of older adults want to age-in-place (meaning to stay in their own home instead of assisted living) and maintain independence. But here’s the problem: 85% of older adults have done NOTHING to prepare their homes for aging.
Some conditions that can increase the risk of falls include: muscle weakness, balance problems, lack of exercise, arthritis, blood pressure, medications, sensory problems and vision problems. Other factors that can contribute to falls in the home, include loose rugs, clutter on stairs, poor lighting or lack of grab bars or a stair rail. Simple preventions to a life threatening event.
A comprehensive Home Safety Assessment along with some low-cost modifications can serve to effectively reduce falls and fall injury in older adults.
Visit: www.AgeSafeAmerica.com for more information and resources.