Today is the tenth annual National Council on Aging (NCOA) Falls Prevention Awareness Day – the first day of fall! Its goal is to educate seniors on the detrimental health risks of falls and how to prevent injuries.
According to the NCOA1, falls in adults aged 65 and older are the leading cause of head injuries and broken hips.
- One out of every four Americans aged 65 and older falls each year.
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including more than 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths.
- Even falls without injury cause fear of falling, leading to physical decline, depression and social isolation.
- In 2013, the total cost of falls-related injuries was $34 billion (78 percent paid by Medicare). This total cost may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite that an older adult falls every second of every day2, and every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall3.
Research supports that fall causes are multi-factorial, influenced by conditions within the individual, within the environment and as a result of the interaction between the two. The most successful falls prevention initiatives are those that use a multi-faceted approach:
- Physical therapists develop individualized physical activity plans to help improve the strength, stability and mobility of people with balance problems.
- Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled at evaluating and addressing a person's activity influences, roles and routines and the environment to maximize independence for older adults.
These evaluations help link a clients’ goals and priorities with modifications and adaptations to support their ability to participate in meaningful activities. Balance and strength exercises and home modifications can keep aging adults thriving and out of the emergency room.
Falls reduction strategies are part of all Amedisys programs. Join Amedisys and NCOA today as we strive to reduce falls and protect the health and well-being of America’s seniors.