If you know someone over 65 or are a senior yourself, here’s some frightening news: If you fall, this is a marker for bad things to come within the next six months.
This is the conclusion of a study published in the July 2017 Annals of Emergency Medicine.
More than half of people over 65 who had a fall that led to an ER visit experienced a bad outcome within six months of the original fall. These bad outcomes included:
• Another fall
• A hospitalization
Alarming Statistics from the Study
• 7.7 percent of patients over 65 who went to an ER for fall injuries developed adverse events within just seven days.
• 21.4 percent of patients developed adverse outcomes within 30 days.
• 50.3 percent developed an adverse outcome within six months.
• Of that last group, 22.6 percent suffered at least one additional fall and 2.6 percent died.
Risk Factors Associated with These Bad Outcomes
• Being on at least five medications
• Being on a psychiatric or sedative drug
The report points out that emergency room staff needs to be more vigilant in supplying fall-prevention education to senior age patients who come in with fall injuries.
Fall Prevention in the Elderly
“Many studies have demonstrated that falls, especially in the aged, can be prevented by physical conditioning, especially with workouts designed to strengthen the legs,” says Morton Tavel, MD, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, and author of “Health Tips, Myths and Tricks: A Physician’s Advice.”
For illustrated and videoed leg exercises (while seated) that can help prevent elderly people from falling, here is an excellent source. Just scroll down to the “Leg Exercises” link and click.
“There is some evidence that if one is found to be deficient in vitamin D, replacement of this deficiency can help with muscle strength in a way that can prevent falls,” adds Dr. Tavel.
“This deficiency can be revealed through a blood test ordered by one’s physician.”