Most people want to live in their own homes for as long as they possibly can but did you know, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 2.5 million people have an emergency room admission each year due to falls, and over 700,000 require hospitalization after a fall. 25% of hospital admissions are related to falls, and over 40% of nursing home admissions relate to falls with 40% of these people not able to return to independent living and 25% who die within a year of the fall. Lastly, over 1/3 of people over the age of 65 fall each year! An average hospital admission from a fall costs approximately $35,000. Annually the cost of medical intervention related to falls is estimated at over $34 billion in the USA! Wow, that is a lot of money and the outcomes cited in these statistics are quite sobering!

Falls occur for a variety of reasons, and the potential for a fall, or repeated falls, increases with the number of risk factors involved. Risk factors include:

 Physical factors such as weakness, balance problems, other medical conditions or chronic illness

 Visual changes

 Medication use and medication side effects that cause dizziness, balance problems, fatigue

 Home / environmental hazards

How does this fall information pertain to you or someone you know? Everyone knows someone who is at risk for fall! Maybe it is your spouse or your parent, or your grandparent, a friend or a neighbor or co-worker. There are resources in the medical and support communities and in the literature to can become educated about how to decrease fall risks, and thereby reduce health care costs and prolong financial resources. The risk of a fall increases with the number of risk factors involved, but the GREAT NEWS is that by working with a team, including your physician, your family, an Occupational Therapist & Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), you can be proactive, reduce risk factors, and create a SAFE home environment. When you make proactive modifications to your home that promote SAFETY, LIVABILITY and VISITABILITY, you will not only reduce the risk of a fall but also SAVE a significant amount of money in comparison to the cost of just one hospitalization due to a fall!

A home safety evaluation with implementation of proper home modifications BEFORE a fall occurs and when there are risk factors is just good preventative medicine.