While today’s older Americans face additional environmental hazards during the wintertime that may make them more likely to take a tumble. In truth, numerous factors at play year-round make them more likely to fall and hurt themselves. Falls have become so commonplace among seniors nowadays that they, per the National Council on Aging, have become the leading cause of fatal injury and non-fatal traumatic hospital visits among Americans ages 65 and older.
Just how many older Americans are falling each year, and how much do associated expenditures cost the nation?
Senior falls by the numbers
As an American 65 or older, you run a one-in-four risk of suffering a serious fall each year. Currently, an older American seeks medical treatment for fall-related injuries every 11 seconds, with falls causing more than 2.8-million injuries and more than 27,000 fatalities every year. While these statistics are sobering, so, too, are those relating to just how much falls and fall-related injuries cost the nation. Current estimates dictate the national financial toll for falls among older populations could climb as high as $67.7 billion by next year.
Contributing risk factors
Seniors fall at such high rates because many of them have age-related risk factors that make them more susceptible to falling, such as declining vision. Many parts of your body begin to break down as you age, and when you, for example, lose muscle mass, you become less likely to be able to stop yourself from falling. If you, like many other older Americans, also take prescription medications or are recovering from surgery, for example, you may find it harder to avoid environmental obstructions that present themselves, such as icy sidewalks, wet floors and so on.
If you are an older person prone to falling, there are certain steps you can take, at least around your home environment, to help reduce your chances of falling. When others fail to take such precautions on their properties, however, you run the risk of a serious fall-related injury.