Updated 10/25/2012 09:45 PM
More falls among older adults reported
Getting up after a fall is easy for some people. For others, particularly those 65 and older, the effects can be very damaging. There's a new report out detailing the number of falls recorded in our area. Our Iris St. Meran tells us more about the report and what seniors can do to prevent injury.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
NEW YORK STATE -- Some seniors in Onondaga County are part of a class that works on increasing their strength and balance. It can help prevent a more serious health problem resulting from a fall.
Participant Alex Feigeneaum said, "I broke my hip and had a heart attack."
He isn't alone. Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield surveyed New Yorkers 65 and older. Here's what they found: In a three month period, 130,000 older adults in Upstate New York reported falling. The report also showed an annual average of 30,000 fall related emergency room visits and more than 300 fall-related deaths.
Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marybeth McCall said, “Unfortunately, when a limb is broken in an older person, they lose independence. Losing independence is often the step to losing their life."
The reason for falls can vary. It could be that person is more frail, has balance issues or even an interaction of medication. At the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth, educating seniors and health care providers is key.
Knowing what to ask your doctor and coming up with the right treatment can be as important as making an appointment.
"Sometimes when older adults did mention to their health care professional sometime they were given a cane or those types of things, but not a referral to a physical therapist or a strength and balance class,” said Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth Commissioner Lisa Alford.
Some falls can be prevented. Take an assessment of your home. Staying safe could include getting rid of things that cause falls, like an area rug or doormat. A small step but can save lots of time in the hospital and money spent on medical bills.
If you haven't fallen, but are concerned about unsteadiness, health care professionals recommend talking to your doctor about it. You can also get an emergency alert button to wear or just keep a cell phone handy.
Onondaga County Office of Aging and Youth has a number of programs, including the balance and strength class. They'll even assess your home for dangers. To learn more, call (315) 435-2362.