Falls by actors and comedians on TV and in the movies have been the source of countless chuckles for generations. But in real life, falls are anything but a laughing matter. In fact, slip and fall accidents are deadly serious for hundreds of thousands of Americans every year and are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. Given the number of people hurt and killed in falls, it would likely be considered an epidemic if falls were a disease. But while there is no vaccine for tripping on an uneven sidewalk or no cure for slipping on a spill in a grocery store, there are common sense and simple ways to minimize the risk of falls, especially for vulnerable seniors.
Every 19 Minutes, An Older American Dies From a Fall
To grasp how often falls upend lives and lead to tragedy every single day, look at these shocking numbers from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):
- One out of five falls leads to a severe injury, such as a head injury or broken bones.
- Emergency rooms treat three million older Americans for fall injuries every year.
- Over 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year due to a fall, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
- At least 300,000 seniors are hospitalized for hip fractures every year.
- Falls are responsible for more than 95% of all hip fractures and are the most frequent cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
As Baby Boomers age and seniors live longer, the number of fall-related deaths and injuries will continue to grow. The death rate from falls for older Americans increased by 30% from 2007 to 2016, according to the CDC. If these rates continue, the CDC predicts that by 2030, seven Americans will die from a fall every hour.
No one is immune from a slip and fall, no matter what their age. But seniors are particularly vulnerable to falls and are more prone to suffer from severe complications when and if they do. Our bodies get weaker and more susceptible to injury as we age, which contributes to and increases the number of risk factors for falls, including:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Difficulty with walking and balance
- Use of medications, such as sedatives, tranquilizers, or antidepressants
How to Prevent Deadly Falls
While you may not be able to prevent all falls, some simple preventative steps can reduce the chances of losing your footing and suffering from a serious or fatal injury:
- Make sure that there is sufficient lighting throughout your home and that any stairs are sturdy and have handrails.
- Remove clutter and keep it out of heavily traveled areas in your home, avoid throw rugs and loose carpets, and immediately clean up any spills.
- Increase your strength and improve your balance through exercise. Tai chi is particularly helpful.
- Have your eyes checked by an optometrist at least once a year.
- Wear sensible, comfortable footwear appropriate for the weather.
Has a Slip and Fall Knocked You Down? Schedule an Appointment at OrthoMiami Today.
At OrthoMiami, we are committed to using the most advanced and effective methods to relieve pain, repair joints, and restore mobility to patients suffering from a wide range of injuries and conditions, including those suffered in slip and fall accidents. The OrthoMiami team always welcomes new patients and can generally schedule new patient appointments within a couple of days.
If you are dealing with injuries from a fall, please contact us today at (305) 596-2828 to schedule your appointment. We look forward to meeting you.