According to a new study from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention the number of American seniors who die from fall-related injuries has doubled since 2000.
Their findings, recently featured in US News, came from an analysis of death rate information from the National Vital Statistics System between 2000 and 2013. The CDC in particularly found that 30 seniors in every 100,000 died following a fall in 2000.
In 2013, the number of seniors who died following a fall per 100,000 jumped to 57.
Dr. Lauren Gleason, geriatrics medicine fellow at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston says that these deaths following a fall are typically “not usually about the fall”.
"Senior falls are a signal event,” Dr.Gleason said. "And they're often part of a larger geriatric syndrome, which means the fall itself may represent other things that have long been going on. So the fall event can certainly lead to a decline in functional ability and even death. But that can also result from medical problems that cause the fall in the first place."
Their are multiple contributing factors that contribute to an increased risk for falling, those could include poor nutrition, poorly managed diabetes, balance issues, or impaired thinking. Impaired thinking can make even their home unfamiliar, increasing the risk for falling or tripping.
The CDC’s report also found that as one’s age increased so does their chance of fall related death. Seniors aged 65-74 14 per 100,000 falls resulted in death. That number jumps 16 times for seniors 85 and up, 226 per 100,000 pass away.
These numbers can seem very shocking and scary. But Nancy Gell, assistant professor in the department of rehabilitation and movement science at the University of Vermont in Burlington, brings some optimism to the study’s findings.
“An important takeaway from this study is the concerted need for fall-prevention efforts. [This] may include an individual fall-risk assessment, home environment assessment, and participation in fall-prevention exercise, such as balance and strengthening exercise."
Live Oak Medical strives to offers an extensive collection of fall prevention online resources here. Also, in our blog there are a number of features on fall prevention blog, exercises, assessments, and organizations. .