If you or a loved one has experienced a dangerous fall, you are far from alone. Injuries resulting from falls among older adults leads to $30 billion in medical expenses every year. The key to preventing these costs and injuries is to understand how falls happen, and how to properly utilize lifts and ramps to make your home safer for seniors.
The Data on Falling
Falling among older adults and senior citizens has become a very serious problem in recent years. In 2010, emergency rooms treated more than 2.3 million non-fatal fall injuries, with over 662,000 of these patients requiring hospitalization. According to the CDC, one in three adults age 65 and older experience a fall that may result in moderate to severe injuries. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury death in this same age group, making falls one of the most significant and preventable causes of death in seniors.
Causes for Falling
Falls can be caused by a variety of factors, including the physical health of the individual and the medications they are taking. Another common cause of falls among seniors is an unsafe living environment. Tripping and falling hazards, long stairways, absence of ramps, and objects that can be tripped on can all make it difficult to navigate the home safely.
Solutions for Fall-Free Homes
While some of the factors that lead to falling are uncontrollable, making the home safer for older adults can dramatically reduce the risk of falls. Installing accessibility equipment like handicap ramps, wheelchair lifts, and stairway or chair lifts can make moving through the home easier. Additionally, this equipment makes it possible for seniors to maintain a comfortable, independent lifestyle in their own home.
Stacey Krout Minor, PhD(c), MSN, RN