It is the phone call that every adult child dreads. Every year, thousands of Americans receive a call from home, or the hospital, informing them that their senior parent has just been injured in a fall at home. In fact, senior citizens now account for the majority of all spinal cord injuries occurring in the United States, a statement that is strongly linked to the fact that seniors are at a much higher risk of suffering falls.
According to new research conducted by Johns Hopkins, the average age of a spinal cord injury victim in the United States has increased over the years to 51 years of age. The incidence of traumatic spinal college per million in the above-65 age category actually spiked from 79.4 injuries in 2007 to 87.7 injuries in 2009. Falls are now the biggest cause of spinal injuries in this country, injuring more people every year than auto accidents.
It’s no secret that spinal cord injuries are much more likely to impact senior citizens than younger persons. For instance, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the costs over a lifetime for caring for a person with a spinal injury can touch $5 million. The older you are at the time of the injury, the higher the expected expenses over the course of your lifetime.
The Johns Hopkins researchers believe there are two reasons why falls are now a major cause of traumatic spinal injuries involving seniors.
A An entire population of baby boomers is aging rapidly.
B These seniors are physically active, and lead independent lives.
For a senior living in his or her home, it is important to invest in a fall-proof home.
- That means installing high-traction flooring that substantially reduces fall accident risks.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that you clear your floor of carpets and rugs. Any carpets must be taped to the floor, so that there are no upturned ends that can catch you unawares.
- Tuck away electrical cords, and make sure that your stairways are not cluttered.
- Bathrooms must be equipped with shower mats, grab bars, and bath mats, and all staircases, passages, common areas, and your bedroom must be well-lit.
- Kitchens must be senior-accessible, with all jars, containers, and appliances within easy reach.
Unfortunately, even with all these precautions, falls can still occur due to natural aging-related factors. A home care companion can provide the support a senior may need to avoid falls around the house.
Call us for an in home evaluation today at 631-647-7622.