Falls Are a Leading Cause of Decline and Death in the
According to a December, 2006 article in USATODAY, between 1993 and
2003, death rates from falls rose 55% among people over age 65.
Falls accounted for 13,700 deaths and landed 1.8 million older adults
in emergency rooms in 2003, according to a report by the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention in November 2006.
Hip fractures lead to complications that kill one in four elderly.
Falls also seem to open up "Pandora's box" in terms of health
But why is the problem of falls by the elderly on the rise?
"People are living longer, but living with chronic disease,"
says CDC researcher Judy Stevens. "We have more very old people
who are really quite frail. They are more likely to fall and less likely
to survive their injuries."
And when folks do survive their injuries, research has shown they often
experience the beginning of physical and mental decline. They may become
fearful of moving about their homes or out of their homes.
However, seniors who fear falling actually do themselves a disservice
by "staying put".
Frail people are highly susceptible to falls and only increase their
risk of falling, injury and death, according to Dr. Frank Kelly, orthopedic
surgeon and spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Measures you can take
You or your loved one should exercise to increase both strength
• Review all medications with your pharmacist, nurse or physician.
Look for any thing that could cause fatigue or dizziness.
• Have your vision checked regularly.
• Take steps to improve the lighting and safety of the home.
• Be mindful of conditions (icey sidewalks, wet pavement, wet
• The time may be right to consider home care services.