More senior citizens are dying from falls each year, a problem that is only expected to get worse as the country’s population continues to age. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 30,000 Americans over the age of 65 died as the result of a fall. To put that into perspective, falls killed 61 out of every 100,000 senior citizens in 2016, the year with the most recent data available. In 2007, only 47 out of every 100,000 deaths were caused by a fall. This means fall-related deaths have increased 37 percent in less than a decade.
About one in every four elderly Americans has a serious fall each year, according to experts. These falls typically result in broken bones or traumatic brain injuries. The risk of death caused by a serious fall increases with age. Americans between 65 and 74 only have 15 fatal falls for every 100,000. For those that are over the age of 75, that statistic increases to 248 per 100,000, according to the data released by the CDC. Women are at a higher risk than men of both falling and dying from a fall. If the fall-related mortality rate continues at the same pace then 59,000 senior citizens will die from a fall in 2030, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The CDC recommends screening and intervention for senior citizens who have issues with gait, strength, and balance. Other risk factors for a serious fall include advanced age, certain medications, a history of falling, and depression. While nursing homes have focused on fall tracking technology, the government agency recommends nursing homes develop protocols for residents with urinary urges.
According to McKnight’s Long Term Care News, a frequent need to urinate increases the likelihood of a senior citizen falling by 26 percent and the risk of bone fractures increases 34 percent. For elderly individuals who need to urinate multiple times a night, it seems obvious that the risk of a fall would increase, especially since they may choose to go alone if there is not a nurse or staff member available to help them. In one study, a nursing home developed a care plan for all residents with the frequent need to urinate that included staff visiting each night at set intervals to help the resident to their bedroom. The results showed a 54 percent decrease in falls caused by incontinence.
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