Why Are Falls So Dangerous for the Elderly?
Every year, one in every four Americans aged 65 and up falls, with nearly 36 million falls reported in 2018, 8.4 million of which resulted in fall-related injuries, and more than 32,000 elders dying as a result of their falls. Most falls do not result in serious injuries, so how can it be life-threatening?
Consequences of Falls in the Elderly
The severity of a fall can range from a broken hip to a traumatic brain injury. The most common fall-related injuries are fractured bones and soft tissue injuries (e.g., bruises, sprains, and strains), but even minor trauma can necessitate hospitalization.
Why Do Falls Cause Death in the Elderly?
Researchers looked at how elderly and non-elderly adults react to ground-level falls. They discovered that older adults are three times more likely to die after a low-level fall than those under the age of 70, and that treatment and prognosis are still complicated for the elderly, especially after a fall.
Psychological Effects of a Fall on the Elderly
Even non-fatal falls can leave a senior incapable of caring for themselves; only 22% of seniors in a ground-level fall study were able to function on their own after being discharged from the hospital. Fear of being hurt or disabled can drive behavioral changes.
Prevention Is Key
Ground Level Falls Are Associated With Significant Mortality in Elderly Patients (http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/JF16p18.shtml) (http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/JF16p18.shtml) (http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/JF16p18.shtml).
How does an elderly person die from a fall?
“People can die after a fall for a variety of reasons, including head trauma, internal bleeding, and complications from a bone fracture,” Pahor said. “Fractures can lead to hospitalization, immobility in bed, and respiratory or other infections, all of which can be fatal.”
Why is falling so dangerous for the elderly?
Many older people are afraid of falling, and with good reason: falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among the elderly in the United States, and older people are more likely to break bones in falls due to osteoporosis, which causes porous, fragile bones.
Can falls kill the elderly?
Falls kill thousands of seniors each year, accounting for half of all injury-related deaths in the elderly, a rate higher than pneumonia or diabetes. Many seniors do not die immediately after a fall.
What causes death from falling?
Nearly half of fall deaths involved head injuries, and 29.5% involved hip fractures; diseases of the circulatory system (I00u2013I99) (47.4%) and diseases of the respiratory system (J00u2013J98) (17.4%) were the other major contributors to fall deaths.
What are the most serious consequences of a fall in the elderly?
Fractures are the most serious consequence of falls for seniors (short of death). The hip, femur (thigh bone), pelvis, and vertebrae (spine) are the most common bones to fracture in falls.
How long does it take for an elderly person to recover from a fall?
According to the source, only one-third of seniors who were classified as severely or moderately disabled prior to their fall were able to fully recover within a year, according to a study.
What does it mean when an elderly person falls a lot?
A fall can signal the onset of a new and serious medical problem that necessitates treatment; for example, an older person may become weakened and fall as a result of illnesses like dehydration or a serious urinary tract infection.
What is the most common cause of falls in the elderly?
Illnesses and physical conditions can affect your strength and balance, and poor lighting and throw rugs in your home can cause you to trip or fall.
When would someone falling become a cause for concern?
Any fall that results in an injury, no matter how minor, is cause for concern and should be treated right away. Injuries may appear minor at first, but gradual or sudden changes in health or behavior are significant indicators that an injury warrants further investigation.
Why do the elderly lose the ability to walk?
They discovered that older age, low physical activity, obesity, impaired strength and balance, and chronic diseases like diabetes and arthritis are all common causes of loss of mobility.
Can Falls be fatal?
A fall is defined as an occurrence that causes a person to come to rest inadvertently on the ground, floor, or other lower level, with injuries that can be fatal or non-fatal (1), though the majority are non-fatal.
At what height is a fall considered severe?
The American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma (ACS-COT) has set a 20-foot (6-meter) anecdotal threshold for sustaining critical injuries from a vertical fall , which is supported by published literature on survivors of accidental and suicidal free falls .
How high can a human fall without death?
People usually survive falls of 20-25 feet (6-8 meters), but anything higher than that is fatal, according to a study conducted in Paris in 2005, which looked at 287 victims of falls and found that falls of 8 stories (30 meters) or higher were 100% fatal.
What happens to your body when you fall down?
Falls can result in broken bones, such as wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures, as well as serious head injuries, especially if the person is taking certain medications (such as blood thinners).