Pop Quiz: What’s the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older Americans?

Would you be surprised to hear that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among Americans aged 65 and older? Here are some astounding statistics to help drive that point home:

  • 27,000: the number of older Americans who died in 2014 because of falls
  • 8 MILLION: Number of emergency department visits for fall-related injuries among the older population
  • 7: Percentage of the 65+ American population who reported falling in 2014
  • $31 BILLION: The amount that falls among older Americans cost Medicare in 2014.

These startling numbers were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, as the agency urged doctors, caregivers, and the American public to have conversations with their older friends and relatives to help prevent falls.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden was quoted in a news release as saying, “Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence. Health care providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves.”

Things like increased exercise, removing trip hazards in your home, and having your eyes checked are all positive changes that can help prevent falls in the home.

While there are steps one can take to help mitigate falls, they are a danger that will never fully be prohibited for an older person, especially one living alone. One of the most effective methods is using a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) like Alert Sentry, to ensure that if a fall does occur, that person will receive swift medical attention.

Alert Sentry even offers an on-the-go mobile PERS device with automatic fall detection. This means that the user doesn’t even have to press the button if the device detects their fall; help will automatically be called without them ever having to lift a finger.

Every second of every day, an older American falls. Not only do these falls inflict (often serious and even deadly) injuries, but they also cost billions in medical bills. It’s a burden on our aging American population and one that can at the very least be mitigated with the use of a PERS.