Are you 65 and over?  Do you know someone who is?  Here are some quick facts about a major health issue facing seniors – the risk of serious injury leading to death.

Women 65 and older are less likely to die from a fall than their male counterparts — men are over forty-percent likely to die from a fall.

Blacks are much less likely to die from a fall than whites, who are are over twice as likely to die as a result of a fall.

There is also a disparity between ethnicity groups.  Hispanics have a lower risk of suffering a life ending fall than do non-Hispanics.

As you might expect, the rate of falls climbs with age.  Those over eighty-five are over four times as likely to be seriously injured in a fall as those who are under seventy-five.  While elderly men are more likely to die from a fall, women of the same age are more likely to be seriously injured.  The discrepancy may be due to men climbing ladders or such to do outdoor home maintenance, while women may be more prone to fall inside the home.

What can we do to prevent a fall? You may consider modifying the home: eliminate steps, improve access to shower, add grab-bars, and increase lighting can all help.  Annual visits to your eye doctor to make sure your eyeglasses are the right prescription is important.  Regular exercise is very important.  In addition to walking or swimming, exercises that increase leg strength and improve balance.  Make sure your diet (or vitamin supplements) provide you with approved levels of Vitamin D and calcium.

As we all know, injuries from falls is a very serious threat as we age.  Not only is the injury sustained in the fall a danger, other medical problems can occur as a result of the injury sustained in the fall.  For instance, if someone is immobile for a period of time while they recover from a fall, they are at a heightened risk of a stroke and will often be placed on blood-thinning drugs as a preventative measure.

This information was compiled from data gathered from the Center for Disease Control and the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

 

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