Fall Prevention Saves Lives and Dollars
Falls are unfortunately common for elderly people. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease and Control Prevention) one in every three adults age 65 and older falls in the period of a year. Falls can cause very serious injuries, such as hip fractures, head injuries, and injuries to internal organs. These incidents impact the lives of elderly people and their caregivers in a serious ways also. The victim of a fall usually faces pain, hospitalization, and loss of independence; caregivers face more demands on their time, more stress and high medical expenses in these incidents.
In 2013, the direct medical costs of older adult falls, adjusted for inflation, were $34 billion, according to a study in the journal Injury Prevention. Direct costs are what patients and insurance companies pay for treating fall-related injuries. On average, the hospitalization cost for a fall injury is over $35,000, according to a 2005 study.
Of course, in 2015, costs are much higher.
These costs include fees for hospital and nursing home care, doctors and other professional services, rehabilitation, community-based services, use of medical equipment, prescription drugs, changes made to the home, and insurance processing. However, these direct costs don’t include the long-term effects, such as a lifetime of disability, loss of employment, and a lengthy time of dependence.
Fortunately, falls are preventable however, with just a few inexpensive health practices and a little common sense about mobility in environments. Practicing fall prevention saves lives and save dollars, as well.
Seniors are advised to:
- Exercise – Do exercises that focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance. Tai Chi programs are especially good.”
- Medications – Ask the doctor or pharmacist to review all medications and to discuss with you all the medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness , blurred vision, or unsteadiness.
- Vision – Have your vision checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update your eyeglasses.
- Trip Hazards – Reduce tripping hazards at your home and modify areas where falls are most likely to occur. For example, add grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet in your bathroom.
- Lighting – Improve lighting around stairs and other areas where daily activities occur, like kitchens and bathrooms.
- Home Access – For safe entry and exit, add a ramp and/or hand railings with adequate lighting.
These home modifications are actually less expensive than hospitalization after a fall. Again, fall prevention saves dollars and lives too!
This month we are offering our free E-book titled “Preventing Falls Around the House”. Please download this e-book as our gift to you. The information will help you find the fall hazards around your house and help you reduce your risk for falls. Discuss the information with other caregivers, family members, and seniors so they will be aware of fall prevention.
Fall prevention saves lives, let’s make it a personal goal this month to prevent one fall by an elderly adult.