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Falls Are a Leading Cause of Decline and Death in the Elderly

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 problems.

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 and balance.

• 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 floors, etc.).

• The time may be right to consider home care services.

Home Health Tips

Medication Misuse A Real Threat To Seniors

Fact: According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, approximately 28% of all hospital admissions for those over 65 are caused by medication non-compliance.

Fact: Nearly one half of the 2 billion dispensed prescriptions each year are not taken correctly... leading to serious health issues.

As you can see, misuse of medication by the elderly is a real problem.

And, it's now a leading cause of accidental death in seniors. 125,000 people die every year — twice the number of people killed in car accidents.

Sad, but true.

How To Protect Your Loved One

Unfortunately, most of us are not equipped to safeguard against the many hazards of medication non-compliance by a loved one.

After all, you have many other responsibilities in your life. It's not easy.

But, armed with the right information and resources, you can ensure your loved one is safe and sound. more »


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