I hope that the subject line didn’t scare you but today’s blog contains a serious message that everyone should pay attention to.
Did you know that one in three adults aged 65 and older suffer from a fall each year? That’s roughly 33%.
And did you know that medicare costs per fall averaged between $13,797 and $20,450 (in 2012 dollars)?
For some of us that’s a small fortune…
The consequences of falling may not be something you think about on a regular basis but the cost of a fall can be monumental, especially for someone suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Today I’m going to cover the costs of a fall in a bit more detail and then talk to you about how you can greatly improve your chances of avoiding one and not becoming another statistic.
The Cost of Falling
If you fall and break a bone it’s going to hurt, that much is obvious, but what’s less obvious is the emotional cost and the financial cost – both immediate and ongoing.
Imagine for a moment that you’re no longer able to go for walks or runs, go golfing, or enjoy your other favorite activities. That unfortunately is the reality that 33% of people over age 65 today are living with, in some cases indefinitely due to a fall.
It’s a scary picture right?
Then there is the financial cost. There are the costs patients or insurance companies pay for treating fall-related injuries and include: hospital stays, doctors, specialist services, rehabilitation, and prescription drugs.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
- The costs of fall injuries increase rapidly with age.
- Costs of both fatal and nonfatal falls are higher for women than men.
- In 2000, medical costs for women, who comprised 58% of the older adults, were two to three times higher than the costs for men.
The bad news about all of this is that the cost of falling doesn’t end there. Once you break a bone, the cost of a fall can extend to almost every aspect of your life. You can end up dependent on others, experience a reduced quality of life, and a sense of uneasiness or doubt about your own body.
Are The Odds Against You?
There are certain factors that contribute to your risk of falling:
- Biological: As you age, there are musculoskeletal changes that occur, which can affect your sense of balance and space/depth perception.
- Environmental: Being aware of your environment is key to reducing your risk of falling. Home hazards such as slippery floors, cluttered walkways and loose rugs can pose a major risk.
- Behavioural: Your diet and exercise regimen play major roles in reducing the risk of falling. By fueling your body with nutrient dense foods, you are giving your muscles and bones the vitamins and minerals it needs. Further, when you exercise regularly, you are strengthening your muscles and joints while also improving your coordination and reaction time.
The good news is that you can always lower your risk, no matter what your age.
What You Can Do to Prevent Yourself from Falling
Exercise Regularly: Weight bearing exercise that stress your bones is important to increase your strength, balance and reaction time. Increasing your reaction time is crucial to prevent and even lessen the damage that is done when you fall.
Whole Foods Diet: Your body will run most efficiently when following a whole foods diet. A whole foods diet consists of eating food that looks as it did growing in nature, or very close to it (food that hasn’t been refined and processed). This means eating a diet largely of fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and grass fed meats and wild seafood. Following a healthy diet not only makes you feel better, but it gives your body the opportunity to run at its optimal state.
Supplementing with Vitamin D: In a recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School revealed that vitamin D may play a role in fall prevention. “Vitamin D supplementation appears to reduce the risk of falls among ambulatory or institutionalized older individuals with stable health by more than 20%,” the study concludes.
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Protect Your Loved Ones! Pass This Message On!
Know someone who might be at risk of having a fall? Share this blog to friends and family and help spread the word!