Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. In addition, falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
The stats are down right scary.
87 percent of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls. Among people aged 65 to 69, one out of every 200 falls results in a hip fracture. That number increases to 10% for those aged 85 and older. Moreover, 25% of seniors who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months of the injury.
Illnesses and physical conditions can affect strength and balance in the elderly. For example, the elderly suffer chronic conditions such as heart disease, dementia and low blood pressure, which can result in poor vision and dizziness. Also, poor lighting or throw rugs in the home increases the probability of a trip or slip. Furthermore, side effects of some medicines such as for depression, sleep problems, and high blood pressure can often cause falls.
Falls: Elderly Outcomes
Unlike young people, seniors’ bodies simply aren’t able to withstand and recover from the trauma. These falls often result in lacerations, hip fractures, and head traumas. And in many cases, the initial injury isn’t the cause of death; the associated problems are to blame.
Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD ( Department of Health and Urban Development) in a recent speech averred that preventing falls, maintaining health, and finding new ways to ensure the availability of affordable housing for the elderly is a prime focus of his Department. Senior living facilities such as assisted housing facilities and skilled nursing homes must be constructed to the specific needs and abilities of the elderly.
Each building site requires an individual assessment of the needs of its residents. There is no cookie-cutter approach, but the bottom line is the same: Insure that the facility is built to be elderly-friendly.
Mr. Carson said he understands the important roles that health and safety play in helping seniors remain as healthy as possible. Affordable housing, assisted living communities and other buildings where seniors live must be designed, constructed, and maintained to prevent falls.