On September 23, 2016 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published their findings after analyzing data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The data found that 28.7% of older adults 65 or older reported falling (a percentage that translates to 29 million falls). Of the estimated 29 million, 7 million resulted in injuries.
The CDC also found that:
- Women are more likely than men to fall due to increased susceptibility to reduced muscle mass
- Men are less likely than women to report their falls
- The risk factors associated with falling (e.g. changes in gait and balance, increased inactivity, more severe chronic conditions, increased prescription medication use) increase with age
- Falls incidence varies among states but remains a prevalent issue in all areas; In Hawaii, the state with the lowest incidence rate, 20.8% of older adults reported falling
- The CDC estimates that 31.3 billion Medicare dollars are spent annually on falls in older adults
The CDC states that approximately half of older adults do not report their falls to healthcare providers. The Center recommends a collaborative clinical approach to falls prevention, including:
- Screening older adults for fall risk (ask residents if they have fallen in the past year, feel unsteady, or worry about falling)
- Gait and balance assessments
- Strength and balance exercises
- Reviewing and managing medications linked to falls
- Improving older adults’ bone, muscle, and nerve health by recommending vitamin D supplements
An effective activities program in your assisted living community can help keep residents of all ages, levels of physical ability, and cognitive capacity engaged, social, and active, reducing the risk of falls. HCPro offers over 100 activity ideas in The Big Book of Senior Living Activities with strategies to adapt and modify activities to individual resident needs, (including Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, younger residents, residents with communication limitations, and bariatric residents), detailed case studies on senior living activities, and tips for how to gain resident and staff buy-in. Improve your community’s resident activity program today!