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Falls Lead Causes of Death among Seniors in NC

Falling among seniors according to recent data, is the most common reason for injury death in 69 counties in North Carolina, reported the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). National reports show that a senior person is treated in a hospital emergency department every 17 seconds for injuries caused by falls.

In North Carolina, falls were the reason for more emergency department visits and hospitalizations among seniors than any other cause.

Statistics in North Carolina from 2007 to 2009 show falls in the elderly accounted for:

  • Almost 1,600 persons who were 65 years old and older who died because of falling
  • About 55,000 being hospitalized
  • 135,000 who were treated in a hospital emergency department

DHHS Secretary Al Delia cautioned seniors and their families to recognize that falling has serious long-term consequences and to take measures to improve the safety of their homes for the elderly.

The secretary said that falls often curtail independence for seniors and lead to being admitted to nursing homes sooner than they otherwise would be. In addition, he added, many falls can be fatal.

“With North Carolina’s rapidly growing aging population, it is critical for us to educate individuals and caregivers about ways to prevent falls,” Delia said.

DHHS suggested people take the following precautions to make their homes safer and protect people from falling:

  • Ensure there is good, bright lighting including night-lights in halls, the bedroom and the bathroom.
  • Be certain all rugs are attached to the floor and back them with non-skid material.
  • Keep electric cords and telephone cords away from walking areas.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom to support people moving on and off the toilet or stepping into the shower or bathtub. Possibly use a seat in the shower to avoid falls when washing legs and feet.
  • Be sure stairways are well lit and have handrails on both sides.
  • In the kitchen, make sure items are easy to reach and kept near where you use them. Don’t use ladders or step stools.
  • Use cordless phones around the house for convenience, but be sure the phone near the bed is corded for times like black outs.
  • Do not wear loose slippers.
  • Be sure your shoes have firm, non-skid soles.

Source: WFMY News

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