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A Word of Caution about Seniors and Falling from Bend Chamber Member Comfort Keepers

About one third of the senior population over the age of 65 falls each year. Approximately 9,500 deaths of older Americans are associated with falls each year. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age. At 80 years, over half of seniors fall annually. Here are some more surprising facts and statistics related to falling:

  • 87 percent of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls. Two-thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months.
  • When an older person falls, his or her hospital stays are almost twice as long as those of older patients who are admitted for any other reason.
  • Among people aged 65 to 69, one out of every 200 falls results in a hip fracture. That number increases to one out of every 10 for those aged 85 and older.
  • One-fourth of seniors who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months of the injury.
  • Many falls do not result in injuries, yet 47 percent of non-injured seniors who fall cannot get up without assistance.
  • For seniors who fall and are unable to get up on their own, the period of time spent immobile often affects their health outcomes. Muscle cell breakdown starts to occur within 30-60 minutes of compression due to falling. Dehydration, pressure sores, hypothermia, and pneumonia are other complications that may result.

A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness. The most profound effect of falling is the loss of independent living.

 

Comfort Keepers® can help. Getting help after an immobilizing fall improves the chance of survival by 80 percent and increases the likelihood of a return to independent living. Of course, it is best to prevent falls in the first place. We can perform home safety assessments, and offer practical solutions and products to keep seniors safe.

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