CDC Report: Arkansas has 14th Highest Rate of Older-Adult Falls
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Falls are the leading cause of death among individuals age 65 and older, and new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows about 30% of older adults in Arkansas report falling. Of those falls, one out of every five causes a serious injury.
Dr. Robin Lee, team lead for the safety promotion team in the CDC injury center, explained after an older adult falls, their chances of falling again and getting injured increase.
"The thing is that many of these injuries, though, they could be prevented," Lee contended. "And so that's why we have launched our Still Going Strong awareness campaign to help older adults and caregivers know what the common risk factors are, and what some of the things that they can do to help injuries from occurring. "
Older adults had more than 2.4 million emergency department visits and 700 hospitalizations related to injuries from falls, motor-vehicle crashes, opioid overdoses and self-harm in 2018, according to a new CDC report. Unintentional falls accounted for more than 90% of E-R visits.
Lee noted risk factors include certain medications, such as opioid use, that can make someone dizzy or confused and more likely to fall. She added people can take steps to reduce their odds of falls.
"Talking to a doctor if you feel unsteady is an important first step," Lee advised. "Staying active and participating in exercises that can increase your exercise and leg strength is also an important step."
She noted the U.S. spends $50 billion a year related to older-adult accidents.
"I'd just love for older adults and caregivers to go to our website at www.cdc.gov/stillgoingstrong for more information," Lee urged.
Lee added as the number of Americans age 65 and older grows, the number of fall injuries and the cost to treat these injuries are expected to rise.
According to data from the CDC, Arkansas currently spends around $436 billion a year in health-care costs for older adults.
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