Falls cost older adults in the United States more than $80 billion annually. In Indiana falling is the number one reason for emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Mary Raley is the injury prevention/trauma education outreach coordinator at St. Mary’s Trauma Center in Evansville.
“I personally think injury prevention is a good investment. When you provide fall prevention – interventions for our high-risk elderly population – we’re actually going to save money by keeping them at home and keeping them out of the hospital,” said Raley.
Occupational therapist Heidi Altom of IU Home Health says some people resist making changes in the home after a fall.
“When you come in and start saying maybe we should move this and that – it makes them a little nervous. Because they’ve lived in that home 40 years and they’ve been fine. And they don’t know why you need to rearrange and look at all these things. But when you get older there’s lots of changes in your dynamic balance,” said Altom.
Altom says upgrading home lighting and removing throw rugs are simple ways to increase safety. September is Fall Prevention Month in Indiana. Find more tips and information online at www.infallprevention.org.