Fall Awareness Lengthens Lives
Afraid of falling? Falling is not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. Attend a free fall prevention class and learn how to manage your risk factors and live a full and active life, free from the fear of falling. Visit our calendar of events and search for the keywords "Fall Prevention" for more information and a complete list of available classes.
Do You Have Concerns About Falling?
Many older adults experience concerns about falling and losing their independence. Good news! 60–70 percent of falls can be prevented. Dr. Gina Dawson P.T. will go over facts about falls and specific interventions to reduce falls.
Don't let the fear of falling keep you from having your independence.
Falls are a major threat to the wellbeing and independence of adults, ages 65 and older. Each year, almost one-third of seniors experience a fall. In 2013, a reported 2.5 million nonfatal falls were treated in emergency departments across the country.
These injuries could range from hip fracture, head trauma, and bruising, and seriously impact seniors’ ability to live an independent lifestyle. There are several risk factors for falls to be aware of, including medications, inadequate diet/exercise, hearing or vision impairment, environmental hazards and muscle weakness. Other factors may include:
- Ages over 80
- Risk-Taking Behavior
- Cognitive Impairment
- Gait/Balance Impairment
- Other Medical Conditions
Costs Associated with Falls
Fall-related injuries among older adults, particularly among older women, are associated with substantial economic costs. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports $20 billion spent annually to treat older adults for injuries caused by falls.
Aging Does Not Mean Falling!
Falls are NOT an inevitable part of aging! With practical lifestyle adjustments, fall prevention programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be substantially reduced.
Research has shown that 60-70% of all falls can be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported seeing strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of fall prevention programs.
Fall Prevention Facts
- About 36 million older adults fall each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths.
- Each year, about 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for a fall injury.
- One out of every five falls causes an injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
- More than 95% of hip fractures external icon are caused by falling—usually by falling sideways.
- Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.
Fall Prevention Steps
- Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Contact the Methodist Healthcare HealthLine at (210) 575-0355 to find a program best suited for you.
- Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Be sure to share any history of recent falls.
- Regularly review your medications. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your current medications to make sure none of them are increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.
- Keep up with annual vision and hearing checkups. Vision and hearing impairments could increase your risk of falls. Annual checkups can catch many issues before they become serious concerns.
- Keep your home safe. Make sure your home is fall-proof as well. Remove any tripping hazards, increase lighting, make your stairs safe, and install any needed grab bars in key areas of your home.
- Talk to your family members. Enlist the support of your family by talking about simple ways to keep everyone in the house, not just older adults, safe.