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A fall is a serious health occurrence that affects people every year. However, many may overlook the dangers of falls especially compared to other health issues, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one out of four older adults experience a fall each year (Centers for Disease Control, n.d.). While not all falls result in an injury, one in five falls cause a serious injury such as a hip fracture or head injury. As a result, these injuries can impact everyday activities and independence due to pain or decreased mobility. Additionally, these injuries can be very costly. In 2015, the total medical cost for falls was over $50 billion. In addition, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among individuals over 65 (Centers for Disease Control, n.d.). Although Medicare and Medi-Cal may cover some of these costs, falls, their subsequent injuries, and associated health care costs can be avoided with preventative steps.

Fear of Falling

Falling can not only result in an injury but also a fear of falling. This fear may result in avoiding everyday activities such as walking, shopping, or participating in social activities (National Institute on Aging, 2020). As a result, this lack of activity and mobility can increase the risk of another fall. The CDC found that if you fall once, your chances of falling again double (Centers for Disease Control, n.d.). Therefore, discussing falls or a fear of falling with loved ones and your doctor is important. To some, a fall may seem like a sign of losing independence or needing extra help. This is not necessarily true, and falling should not be something you feel embarrassed or scared to talk about.

Fall Risks

Falls can happen anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Various factors can increase your risk of falling and the majority of falls result from a combination of these risk factors. However, these factors can be addressed to prevent future falls.

The risk factors include (Centers for Disease Control, n.d.):

  • Walking and balance difficulties
  • Medications that affect balance (such as sedatives or antidepressants)
  • Lower body weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Foot pain
  • Environmental hazards (uneven surfaces, clutter, and other trip hazards in the home)

Fall Prevention Tips

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control. (n.d.). Home and Recreational Safety. Retrieved on August 31, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/index.html

Hayes, K. (2017). Slips and Falls Can Be Deadly. Retrieved on August 31, 2020 from https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/deadly-slips-falls-roger-ailes-fd.html

National Institute on Aging. (2020). Prevent Falls and Fractures. Retrieved on August 31, 2020 from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures