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Why are falls so dangerous for the elderly?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people aged 65 and older experience 29 million falls on a yearly basis. Of these incidents, approximately 28,000 seniors succumb to injuries sustained during falls, while 800,000 require hospitalization to treat these injuries. Falls can also incur huge health care costs when it comes to subsequent treatment. Cost for treating injuries related to falls $31 billion dollars annually.

The above numbers illustrate why fall prevention is so important. Even a seemingly minor fall can result in significant injuries when a senior's health is impaired. Additionally, those with mobility issues, which is the case for many elderly people, also experience more problems with balance and movement. When these factors are combined, a fall can have devastating consequences for all involved.

So, what can you do to ensure your loved one remains safe? Take steps to remove hazards from your home or the home of your family member. You can do this by doing away with throw rugs, which can easily be trampled over. You should also get rid of clutter within walk-ways and high-traffic areas. In bathrooms, grip bars should be installed, which help seniors raise and lower themselves safely. Non-stick flooring is also important for bathroom safety.

Falls can also be caused by other factors, such as poor eyesight. Make sure your loved one is up-to-date on eyeglass prescriptions. If he or she takes medication that causes drowsiness, discuss alternatives with a doctor. The elderly can also perform simple exercises to increase strength and balance. Proper footwear is also beneficial. Seniors should wear shoes that offer ample support and should have any foot conditions checked out immediately.