Older Americans are at an increased risk of injuries from falls.

These Basic Steps Can Help Prevent Falls

For Americans over the age of 65, one of the greatest risks of injury and even death is due to accidental falls. One out of every three older people falls each year — and falling once doubles a person’s chances of falling again.

Falls are both serious and costly, leading to 2.5 million trips to the emergency room for injuries each year. 1 out of 5 falls cause a serious injury, such as broken bones or head trauma. More than 700,000 patients are hospitalized each year due to falls; the most common reason for hospitalization is a head injury or hip fracture. In fact, more than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. The direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion dollars each year (adjusted for inflation).

There are many reasons why older Americans are more likely to fall than other people. These risk factors include weakness in the lower body, Vitamin D deficiency, vision problems, foot pain, difficulty with walking and/or balance, medication side effects, and home hazards such as broken or uneven steps, throw rugs, clutter, and lack of handrails. The more risk factors that a person has, the greater their chances are of falling.

Fortunately, you can decrease your chances of falling by reducing the fall risk factors listed above. This can help you avoid falling and potentially prevent some of the more serious injuries associated with falls. First, you can talk to your doctor about your risk of falling, and ask about specific things that you can do to reduce your risks. This may include changing medicines if any of your current prescriptions make you feel dizzy, off balance, or sleepy, taking Vitamin D supplements, or going to physical therapy to improve your strength or balance. You should also have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once per year to help reduce your risk of falls.

Next, work on making your own home safer. Move things that you could trip over, which includes area rugs, cords, and clutter in walkways. Add grab bars and hand rails in your bathroom and along your stairs. Install lighting in any dimly-lit areas of your home, and make sure that your stairs and walkways are in good repair.

Regardless of the cause, falls can lead to serious injuries. This can include broken bones, head injuries, or even trauma that can make people afraid to live on their own. For older people, these types of injuries can be even more grave due to medications like blood thinners that can cause excessive bleeding in the event of a wound. Any fall should be addressed immediately by a health care professional.

If you have been hurt in a fall due to the negligence of another person, they may be responsible for your injuries. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you recover for your damages so you can focus on getting healthy again. Contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 or to learn how we can help you if you have been hurt in a fall. Initial consultations are always free, and we never charge a fee unless we get money for you.