We all know that our ability to live long, independent lives depends on staying healthy and injury free as we age. As we get older, our stability and strength begins to decrease, raising the risk of serious injury due to falling. That’s why September has been designated, among other things, as fall prevention month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- About 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths.
- Each year, about 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for a fall injury.
- One out of every five falls causes an injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling—usually by falling sideways.
- Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.
Harvard Medical School continues by acknowledging that most falls result in only minor scrapes and bruises but a fall can also have a mental impact on the person who experienced it, creating a fear of falling. They go on to say that, “a significant minority of falls among older people do result in a major physical injury — broken bones, serious cuts, bad bangs to the head. Some of those injuries (hip fractures especially) lead to disability — or worse. Roughly 18,000 older Americans die each year from injuries sustained during a fall.”
Understanding that a bad stumble or fall can lead to serious injury, possibly changing the life of our elderly loved one forever, is important and that’s why bringing awareness to the seriousness of falling is essential. The National Council On Aging (NCOA), has asked people to “Join us September 18-24, 2022 for Falls Prevention Week, a nationwide effort to raise awareness that falls are preventable.” For loved ones and caregivers alike, the NCOA has developed a Falls Prevention Awareness Week Promotion Toolkit as well as a Falls Prevention Action Plan that helps caregivers specifically “feel empowered in your role by knowing how to reduce the risk of falling.” You can download both on their website.
There are a few things that may cause our elderly to fall and injure themselves including:
- Bad eyesight
- Health conditions
- Cognitive impairment
- Loss of muscle mass
- Foot problems
Steps that can be taken to prevent a fall include:
- Staying active by developing a workout program
- Strength and balance training
- Eyes and hearing examinations
- Understanding the side effects of prescribed medication
- Avoiding alcohol
- Getting enough sleep
- Choosing the proper footwear
Whether at-home or on-the-go, there are a few safety protocols to implement if a fall were to occur. Those steps include:
- Staying calm by remembering to breath slowly
- Staying still while on the floor or ground to determine if any injury did occur
- Always being prepared by having a medical alert system for emergency incidents.
If your loved one is in need of constant safety and health monitoring or if you’re a caregiver looking for that perfect gift this year, a medical alert device from LifeFone might be perfect. Knowing that 24/7 monitoring of your aging friend or relative is always present helps to relieve stress and creates peace of mind for those worrying about the seniors in their life. LifeFone offers independence and safety for any type of lifestyle and can offer immediate help at the push of a button. As a leading provider in the medial alert services field, and being recognized by both doctors and hospitals, you can count on immediate emergency help when it’s needed the most!