According to the National Council On Aging. One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
In 2014, the total cost of fall injuries was $31 billion.
The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
Falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact. A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.
The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. The key is to know where to look.
Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:
Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
The Physical Therapy team at the Milton Home can assist residents that are at risk for falls and residents that have fallen. Physical Therapy provides skilled therapy services to improve balance and gait training, complete screens and assessments, set and achieve goals, complete standardized tests and discharge residents with caregiver training. Contact our facility at (574) 233-0165 or at www.themiltonhome.com for more information on our physical therapy program!