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Falls: A Big Concern for Elderly Patients

Falls are a big concern for our elderly population:

  • Among older adults age 65 or older, falls are the leading cause of injury or death. (American Trauma Society)
  • 1 out of 3 adults age 65 and older experience a fall each year. (CDC)
  • In 2010 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries in elderly adults were treated in emergency departments with 662,000 hospitalizations reported. (CDC)
  • With this related medical cost was estimated at 30 billion dollars.
Common injuries sustained with elderly falls:
  • Minor to complex lacerations with risk of infections.
  • Broken bones (i.e., hip or pelvis fracture, spinal fracture, arms or shoulders) which may require surgery, hospitalization and extended rehab.
  • Head Trauma (traumatic brain injury) in 2000 TBI accounted for 46% of fatal falls among older adults. (CDC)

Prevention Tips:
  • Regular exercise focused on strength and balance ,
  • HealthPlex to start offering Tai Chi (12 week course starting in 2014) – a Chinese martial art practiced for both defense training and health benefits, such as stress management , relaxation, coordination.
  • Review all medications including supplements with primary physician for side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Have a vision exam at least once a year
  • Review home and environment safety:
  • rugs- nonskid or taped
  • grab bars in showers and bathrooms
  • handrails for stairs
  • proper lighting
  • floor space free of clutter and trip hazards

http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/index.html