Aged Care at Home: The Impact of Falls

Article 1 of 3

Case Studies

Aged care falls risk and prevention

Falls among older adults

My grandpa fell at the ATM. He never recovered and died. Same with my other grandma, she fell in a parking lot, never recovered. Both died within a few months of their fall. A simple fall can spell the end even for a pretty fit person. Also REMEMBER if they fall once, their chances of falling again soon after go UP!Robin M

My father had Alzheimers but was still capable of living at home with my mom’s help. He fell and hit his head on a door frame. That was it. He rapidly declined, never walking again. He spent the last year of his life staring at a ceiling.Trish C

These are just a couple of the myriad of true experiences of people with ageing family members.

Some Facts*

  • One in three adults aged 65 and older falls each year.
  • Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes.
  • Of those who fall, 20% to 30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard for them to get around or live independently, and increase their risk of early death.
  • If an older person has had a fall this typically increases their risk of having another.
  • A fall can lead to loss of confidence and reduction in activity which often leads to more falls.

* Source:   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Given we have a rapidly expanding ageing population there is a growing incidence in the occurrence of falls among older adults. Not only is this resulting in significant direct physical, social and emotional trauma, both amongst the person and the broader family, but it comes at a significant economic cost to our nation as well.

Article

I recently became aware of an interesting and eye opening article in the New York Times titled “Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation”. The writer, Katie Hafner from the New York Times, writes:

As the population ages and people live longer in bad shape, the number of older Americans who fall and suffer serious, even fatal, injuries is soaring. So the retirement communities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes where millions of Americans live are trying to balance safety and their residents’ desire to live as they choose.Read more …

Falls can happen to anyone. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to help prevent falls and minimise your injuries if you do fall. Knowing your risk factors and taking a few precautions is a good start.

In a future post we will look at what steps you can and should take to reduce the likelihood of a fall and its resulting injuries.

To read the other articles in this series click Preventing falls, Exercise through the ages.