When An Elderly Loved One Takes A Tumble
Added: Tue. May 15, 2012 3:26pm
Posted in: Aging
When you’re over the age of 65, a little fall can do more damage than most people realize. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions among this age group. However, an injury is only one of the many possible consequences arising from a fall. Let’s start by looking at a few facts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for persons aged >65 years.
- One out of three adults age 65 and older fall each year.
- Between 20% and 30% of these adults who experience a fall suffer a moderate to severe injury.
Pretty scary, right? But it doesn’t stop there. The monetary costs are enormous:
- The CDC estimated that health care costs in the US resulting from elderly falls totaled $28 billion in 2010.
- The cost of hospitalization from a fall injury for one person is $17,500 on average.
- In a Los Angeles Times newspaper article regarding expensive ambulance rides, one lady reported that her ambulance bill totaled a whopping $2,288.
Finally, in a study of people age 72 and older, the average health care cost of a fall injury totaled $19,440, which included hospital, nursing home, emergency room, and home health care, but not doctors’ services.
The non-financial costs of a fall are probably the scariest:
- Decreased health
- Possible loss of independence
- Psychological problems
- Family concerns
- Reduction in quality of life
So what can you do? According to a study conducted by the British Medical Journal, the key to minimizing the financial and non-financial costs of falling is to be able to respond and help a fallen senior quickly. Most costs discussed in their study are directly correlated with the amount of time an elderly person goes unattended after experiencing a fall.
One of the best ways to receive help after experiencing a fall is by using some type of medical alert/personal emergency response system. In fact, one of the primary conclusions that the British Medical Journal came to in their research on elderly falls was that older people were strongly encouraged to employ medical alert systems to reduce the collateral damage resulting from falls.
Medical alert systems allow seniors to receive immediate help without having to risk further injury. By receiving immediate help, the chances of further health and wellness complications are significantly reduced.
Do your part to help limit the costs of falling by researching a medical alert system for you or a loved one. In addition to saving you money, the piece of mind and independence you’ll retain from having one is substantial.
Lastly, here are a few simple steps you and your loved one can take to reduce the risks of falling:
- Look out for raised carpet/rug edges
- Hold on to counters, tables, canes etc.
- Stand up slowly to avoid accidents
- Pay attention to doorsteps and ledges
- Keep floors clear of clutter
- Exercise regularly to maintain healthy joints
- Keep lights on to help guide you