One of the most prevalent medical concerns today, falling, affects more than one in four older people every year; that is more than 2.8 million injuries, 800,000 hospital stays and 27,000 deaths. In fact, falls are so common that they are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in the elderly population. The Falls Free® campaign from the National Council on Aging is seeking to raise awareness by sharing several strategies, programs, statistics and more and have designated September 23rd as the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
The Cost of Falls
The costs associated with falls are are great. In addition to the monetary costs – it is estimated that around $50 billion is spent of non-fatal fall injuries each year and another $754 million on fatal falls – the human costs are also staggering. Pain, injury, emotional distress, loss of confidence, loss of independence and the possibility of moving into long-term care are all costs associated with falls in the elderly. Considering that a third of people over 65 and approximately half of those over 80 experience a fall, these factors are all too common for thousands of people.
Typically grouped into one of two categories – intrinsic or extrinsic – there are several common risk factors that may lead to a fall. Many times, falls happen to those who have multiple risk factors so minimizing risks can go a long way toward reducing the chance of a fall. Some intrinsic risk factors include age, previous falls, muscle weakness, poor vision and even the fear of falling. Extrinsic risk factors are easier to address and include things like dim or poor lighting, no grab bars in bathrooms, poor stair design and slippery surfaces. As with many conditions, knowing the risk factors is the first step to prevention.
Once the risk factors are understood, working with your healthcare provider can help to reduce the intrinsic risks. In addition, online resources, impact reports and local, state and national initiatives are all available to better understand falls and fall prevention. Fall prevention awareness has even moved into social media circles offering many ways to participate in Falls Prevention Awareness Day that include webinars, Twitter chats, Facebook live broadcasts and more.
For a complete list of intrinsic and extrinsic fall risk factors from the CDC, please click here. Links to all the resources for NCOA’s Fall Prevention Awareness Day can be found on their web page and be sure to use #FPAD2019 to join the conversation!
For information about how Chiropractic Neurology can help with the treatment of a fall or reducing risk factors, please contact the team at Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center today.