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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

Those deadly falls

Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010, at 2:28 PM

I saw a friend in Blytheville last Friday night.

He had two black eyes and a bump on his forehead.

He wasn't wearing a costume but his black eyes looked Halloweenish. They were more like two dark rainbow circles painted beneath his eyes, much like the markings that football players paint under their eyes before playing in a game.

Actually, my friend got his black eyes while playing football with his seven year old grandson.

He slipped, took a fall, and hit hard on his forehead.

Did you know that every 35 minutes an older adult dies from a fall.

I read that in an Association of Area Agencies on Aging fact sheet.

As many of you know, I had a bad fall last June and suffered a brain concussion.

It took several weeks of recuperation before I was back to normal.

I was taken by ambulance to a nearby emergency room but I was released after about six hours.

Thankfully, I broke no bones, but my body was extremely sore for days. It took several weeks to recover from the vertigo and the bruised brain

Yet, I consider myself lucky...

Falls remain the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury for older Americans.

However, falling is NOT an inevitable result of aging. Many falls are preventable.

The Steady as You Go education campaign is specifically designed to reduce falls and fall injury deaths by adopting evidence-based interventions like strength and balance training, practical lifestyle adjustments, home safety assessments, eye exams and a periodic review of all medications.

Just last month, my sister had an evaluation of the medications she has been taking and her doctor decided that one medication may have been causing her dizziness. He adjusted her medications and her dizziness decreased after that.

Prior to that evaluation, she had fallen in her home and was hospitalized for a weekend, then moved to a nursing home for two weeks of therapy. After the therapy, she had gained some strength and was able to return to her home.

Luckily the only injury she suffered from the fall was a swollen scraped hand, and body soreness.

But for many elderly, death is the result. The death rate from falls has been more than three times the rate for the next highest injury cause, motor vehicle accidents.

The total cost of fall injuries for older Americans was $19 billion in 2000. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $54.9 billion.

My own five or six hour emergency room stay in a Cape Girardeau hospital, plus two catscans and three x-rays amounted to $5,662.

The cost of my sister's three day hospitalization in a Dyersburg hospital was $23,000, not counting doctor's fees.

She was given intravenous antibiotics for an infection also.

So, there you have it. Both my sister and I were numbered in those fall related injury statistics in 2010.

We're hoping for a fall free rest of the year.

Prevention, prevention..



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From these hills
By Peggy Johnson
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