Furry Friends and Other Falling Hazards

Don’t let his innocent face fool you. This 90 lb bundle of fur knocked me flat earlier in the week while I was innocently walking around outside. Chester got too excited and too distracted by his furry friend and didn’t notice me. Honestly, it could happen to anyone…and does. Falling isn’t fun (believe me and my aching body), but it’s more common than we might believe. Here’s some facts on falling that my orthopedic surgeon and co-author put together. Definitely falls under a “need to know” category in my house and home.

Dr. Christopher A. Foetisch, orthopedic surgeon at the Toledo Clinic writes —

Expert Advice to Avoiding Falling; Just How Prevalent is it for the Elderly?

How big is the problem?

The Fact is:
· More than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States.
· Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
· The elderly account for seventy-five percent of deaths from falls.

Who is at risk?

The Fact is:
· The risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than men with women being 67% more likely than men to have a nonfatal fall injury.
· In 2003, about 72% of older adults admitted to the hospital for hip fractures were women.
· Men are more likely to die from a fall. After adjusting for age, the fall fatality rate in 2004 was 49% higher for men than for women.
· Two-thirds of those who fall will fall again within six months.
· The risk of being seriously injured in a fall increases with age. In 2001, the rates of fall injuries for adults 85 and older were four to five times that of adults 65 to 74.

What Can a Person Do?

The Fact is:
· Older adults can take several steps to protect their independence and reduce their risk of falling by exercising regularly. Exercise programs such as Tai Chi that increase strength and improve balance are especially good.
· Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines, both prescription and over-the counter, to reduce side effects and interactions.
· Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
· Improve the lighting and reduce hazards in their home that can lead to falls. Avoid throw rugs and move furniture out of the way to leave ample room to move.
· If a source for falling is not identified, a physical workup by a neurologist is recommended.


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