The Pandemic has Increased the Risk of Falls
The week of the 18th through the 24th this September is Falls Prevention Awareness Week. This is an important subject, as the rate of falls experienced by older adults has unfortunately only been increasing in recent years. Falls are the number one cause of preventable injury in senior citizens, and many seniors who experience an injury from a fall begin to suffer from loss of independence and a general decline in quality of life.
Each and every second, an older person in the US suffers a fall injury, and every twenty minutes an older adult dies as the result of a fall, which adds up to roughly 30,000 seniors every year. And one third of all adults older than 65 fall each year, and one quarter of those who fall suffer an injury, sometimes a serious one. 3 million seniors are sent to the emergency room each year due to falls, with 800,000 of them being admitted to the hospital due to fall injuries.
A study by the University of Michigan has determined the COVID-19 pandemic has been a factor in the increased fall rate. Several factors have combined to raise the fall risk. Inactivity causes muscle deterioration and many seniors being stuck indoors has left them with fewer exercise opportunities. And with so many things locked down and everyone afraid to go outside, many seniors have neglected their health care appointments, or kept up with their medication refills, meaning many of the health conditions that contribute to falls have been mismanaged.