Falls do not just happen to older adults in the home…… What is your community doing to decrease fall-related pedestrian injuries?

August 13, 2015 at 7:02 am Leave a comment

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has dedicated September 23, 2015, the 8th Annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. We all know the many statistics about falls and older adults:

  • One-third of Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
  • Every 14 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 29 minutes, an older adult dies following a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.4 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 772,000 hospitalizations and more than 21,700 deaths.
  • In 2012, the total cost of fall injuries was over $36 billion.

The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $59.6 billion by 2020.

However, did you also know that according to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19? Or that falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits for nonfatal injuries with 2.8 million children visiting the emergency departments for fall-related injuries in 2010; 40% of them were toddlers. On average 275,000 children suffer traumatic brain injuries from falls. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/NAP/overviews/falls.html)

Although our older and younger population are more at risk, a fall can happen to anyone of us, at any time. Most recently in the news Jimmy Fallon ‘tripped and caught his fall’ which caused him to injure his hand and require surgery.

Falls are a universal problem that need solutions that can benefit all of us in all life environments. Falls are not just contained to the home—CDC research shows on average an estimated 52,482 older adults were treated in emergency departments each year for nonfatal pedestrian injuries. The majority of those injuries were the result of an older adult falling or being hit by a motor vehicle. ‘More than 9,000 older pedestrian fall-related injuries each year involve a curb such as an older adult tripping on a curb.’ Further, the CDC reports that ‘making transportation and mobility improvements—including environmental modifications can help prevent them.’ (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_safety/ )

What is your community doing to decrease fall-related pedestrian injuries?

Entry filed under: complete communities, Home Safety, Injury Prevention, Livable Communities, multigenerational planning, Pedestrian Safety, Planning, Universal Design. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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