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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

More boomers at risk for falls; ER rates increase

What can you do to prevent a costly ER visit?

Aging is a strange process considering our minds generally age slower than our bodies. When our minds are not aware of our bodies’ new limitations, fall injury risks increase. This is precisely what is happening to our baby boomer generation.

Throughout California, the number of Californian’s aged 65 or older visiting the emergency room for a fall has increased 38% between 2010 and 2015. Just last year, the number of seniors who visited the emergency room after a fall was more than 232,000. As our state’s population continues to age, that number will only go up.

The costs associated with a fall can go beyond just those incurred in the emergency room. For many seniors, a fall can mean hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation and some times, long term care facilities.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 seniors are seriously injured by falls resulting in:

  • Hip Fractures
  • Broken Bones
  • Head Trauma

Luckily, there are small things that you can do today to help avoid becoming financially strapped by the high cost of aging.

Improving Fitness and Flexibility

One of the best things seniors can do today is to improve their fitness level. This includes improving strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. When muscles shrink, they become weak and unable to support the rest of your body, which can result in a serious fall. Likewise, improving flexibility can reduce injuries because you may be more able to catch yourself before you fall.

Consider joining a senior-focused strength training class in your area.

Get Balanced

One of the main causes of falls in seniors is a lack of balance. Practicing yoga can do a lot to improve balance in people of all ages. Many yoga studios offer yoga classes specifically for seniors.

Fall-Proof Your Home

Fall prevention is important for people of all ages, not just seniors. Take a look around your home and look for the following fall hazards:

  • Rugs
  • Clutter
  • Obstructed walkways
  • Uneven pavement
  • Perpetually wet surfaces

If you see these types of situations in and around your home, take some time to remove those hazards. Consider installing grab-bars in the bathroom for added safety in wet areas.

Talk to Your Doctor

Another important step is talking to your doctor about health conditions and medications that may increase your risk for a fall. Low blood pressure, vertigo and inner ear issues can lead to dizziness that can cause a fall.

Let Us Help

Avoiding the high cost of aging goes beyond keeping fit and removing hazards from the home. While risks and costs may still go up, there is a lot you can do right now to plan for unexpected expenses that won’t leave you in a financial bind. Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning has helped hundreds of clients and their families plan for the high cost of aging. Call today at 925-224-1185 to schedule a consultation.


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