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Falls the Leading Cause of Death Among Elderly, Study Finds

older man walkingFalls are the leading cause of injury and death among the elderly in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report finds that an older American falls every second of every day, leading to thousands of injuries, emergency room visits and deaths every year.

The report, which was issued on September 22, also found that in 2014 alone, elderly individuals suffered around 29 million falls, which led to seven million injuries and approximately $31 billion in Medicare costs. Those numbers added up to more than 28 percent of all the elderly adults living in the U.S. during that year. In addition, 27,000 adults died as a result of falls and 800,000 had to be hospitalized.

Falls lead to injuries, loss of independence

“Older adult falls are increasing and sadly, often herald the end of independence,” Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, stated in an agency press release. “Healthcare providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves.”

The new report was released at the same time of the Ninth Annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The NCOA has also voiced concern over this issue, stating on their website that falls are the “leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.” According to the council, a senior adult is treated in a hospital emergency room every 11 seconds in the U.S. due to injuries from falling.

It does not appear this concern will subside anytime soon, considering that around 10,000 Americans turn 65 every single day. The rapid increase in the aging population means steps need to be taken as soon as possible to reduce these statistics.

Lowering the risk of falls

The CDC recommends preventative steps that can be taken by elderly adults to reduce the incidence of falls.

Those steps include:

  • Talk to a healthcare provider about fall prevention and alert a physician to any recent falls
  • Have annual eye examinations and make sure glasses prescriptions are up to date
  • Participate in exercise programs that focus on strength and balance, like Tai Chi
  • Talk to a doctor or pharmacist about medications that can increase fall risk
  • Reduce fall hazards in the home such as loose carpet and slick throw rugs

Dangers of slip and fall accidents

While seniors can do their part to reduce their fall risk at home, they are unable to address potential risks when they are out and about. Wet slippery floors, broken steps or missing handrails are all hazards that are that much more treacherous to the elderly. A simple fall for an older adult can mean serious injuries, hospital bills and rehabilitation costs in some cases.

If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident, expert legal representation can help you pursue monetary damages through the courts. Compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other non-economic losses can help you recover from your injuries and get back to your daily life. Proving liability in a slip and fall case can be somewhat complex, however, so enlisting the aid of an experienced personal injury lawyer is essential to ensuring your rights are protected.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a slip and fall accident in New Jersey or NY, Eisbrouch Marsh attorneys have the resources, experience and determination to help.

Call us today at 201-342-5545 for a free case review and to discuss your legal options.

  1. CDC, Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years – United States 2014, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6537a2.htm?s_cid=mm6537a2_w
  2. CDC, Falls are Leading Cause of Injury and Death in Older Americans, http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0922-older-adult-falls.html
  3. National Council on Aging, Fall Prevention Facts, https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/
  4. National Council on Aging, Falls Prevention Awareness Day, https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness-day/