Injuries from falling may heal, but life after may never go back to normal.
#Aging #SeniorCare #HomeHealthCare
The ability to sustain one’s balance or to have the resilience to get back up relatively unscathed after a fall is something often taken for granted by the young and the healthy. For older individuals, and those with chronic illnesses, a fall is a serious mishap and can greatly impact their subsequent quality of life.
Every year, approximately 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 65 experiences a fall, which may or may not land them in the hospital.
Cases that do result in hospitalization can be extremely costly, so much so that by 2020 the combined annual cost of fall-related injuries during that year alone may be as much as $67.7 billion. Even in cases where a fall does not result in injury, it can have a detrimental influence on a person’s quality of life, resulting in fear of future falls, social isolation, depression, and physical decline.
Depending on your situation, extra caution may not yet seem necessary, but understanding the risks of a fall may make caution well worth it. Not including the toll taken on people’s emotional state, fall injuries are some of the most expensive medical conditions to treat and often become more expensive with the age of the patient. If it results in extended hospitalization, often due to a broken hip or head injury, the cost only increases.
While the cost to one’s wallet may be covered by insurance, the cost to one’s way of life after hospitalization can be substantial:
- Limited ability to go up and down stairs
- Needing a walker or cane for the first time
- Needing a home health aide
- Being dependent on family members
- Overwhelming amounts of paperwork
The recommended course for preventing falls is to keep active and engage in activities that work to enhance and sustain mobility and balance. For more information on fall prevention activities check the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
In addition to maintaining balance, it is also important to ensure that living conditions do not present their own hazards. Websites such as Stopfalls.org provide some guidelines for home safety, but it may also be beneficial to consult with an expert.
Aging Life Care Professionals can be hired to assess potential safety issues and may supervise the installation or implementation of any necessary modifications.