Recent articles in the New York Times present an enlightening picture of the process of our aging population coming to grips with mobility issues and the risk of falling. Many times active, healthy elders have to balance their independent spirits with the progression of limitations that come with age. Our perceptions of ourselves as no different than we’ve ever been, no matter our age, can present challenges. The failure to recognize the changes or the embarrassment or fear of being thought of as old and feeble can increase the possibility that a cane or a walker won’t be used and directly affect the likelihood of a fall.
From 2002 through 2012, more than 200,000 persons over 65 died after falls. The fatality numbers for 2012 (the most recent available) were nearly double the number in 2002. A quarter of the older people who fall and fracture a hip die within a year, and the vast majority are left with severe mobility problems.
There are numerous interventions and modifications that can be made to reduce the hazards of an elder’s environment, including the clever use of contrasting colors and strategic furniture placement. Still, despite the best efforts to make an environment safe, it is virtually impossible to prevent every incident because there is always the unpredictability of the human element. Unfortunately, for many elders, the realization of their vulnerability hits home only after firsthand experience of a fall and just how difficult and slow recovery can be.
At Rosen & Spears, we sadly hear about injuries after they have occurred, and would like to encourage elders and their loved ones to become informed consumers about prevention. Explore your environment, or that of your loved one, with an eye toward preventing fall risks. For more information, please also check out the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Prevention ideas on this topic.
Tagged with: Nursing Home Abuse Personal Injury Hip Fracture