Senior Citizen's Guide to PIttsburgh 2014 Vol. 1 Winter/Spring - page 18

Say You Saw It in the Senior Citizen’s Guide to Pittsburgh
According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, one out of three older adults age 65 or
older fall each year, but less than half discuss this
with their healthcare providers. Among older adults,
falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal
injuries for Pennsylvanians, according to the State’s
Department of Aging and Health. The U.S. economic
impact from this is estimated at $30 billion per year as
those severely injured usually end up in nursing homes
or assisted living.
There are many precipitating factors that contribute
to falls in older adults. As we age our bodies weaken
and our reflexes slow down. The effects of aging can
lead to arthritis, osteoporosis or Parkinson’s. The
medications people take to manage these chronic
conditions may come with side effects such as insomnia
or dizziness, which may contribute to falls. Clutter
around the house or poor lighting also increases the
chance for falls. While there are many causes of such
accidents, there are practical things people can do to
modify the risks.
Communicating with your doctor is the single most
important thing to do during yearly exams. You doctor
should ask if you’ve had a fall in the last 12 months. If
he does not ask, then you should tell him if you’ve had
a fall in the last year. Your doctor should perform a fall
risk assessment and discuss health concerns that may
contribute to potential falls. When you meet with your
doctor, have your vision checked to see if you need a
new prescription for glasses. Have your doctor review
your list of medications and make adjustments if there
Preventing Falls
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