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California’s seniors increasingly seeking treatment for falls

Slips and falls affect thousands of California’s seniors each year, and new statistics about the rising number of seniors in the state seeking treatment for falls has safety advocates looking for ways to help combat the growing problem. According to the Sacramento Bee, part of the issue lies in the fact that once a senior falls once, he or she is more likely to fall again. Furthermore, it may set off a chain of events stemming from the fear of falling. A person may become less active thinking this will reduce the risk of a fall, but this actually leads to weaker muscles and a higher chance of another event.

Another factor likely contributing to California’s rising number of fall-related injuries among seniors is the fact that many older people who feel as sharp as ever, mentally, do not recognize when they begin to develop physical signs of aging. An increasingly medicated older society may, too, be partly to blame, as many medications intended for use by older Americans can affect the patient in ways that make him or her more susceptible to falling.

While there are several possible explanations as to why older Californians are increasingly experiencing falls, the number of them seeking treatment for associated injuries paints an alarming picture. Over a recent five-year period, the number of older state residents seeking treatment at emergency rooms for fall-related injuries rose nearly 40 percent.

Also troubling, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are the types of injuries commonly suffered due to falls. Head and brain injuries are of particular concern for older Americans, but even broken limbs and hips can prove tremendously debilitating for a population already prone to suffering bone loss and brittleness. Falling is also the main cause of 95 percent of all hip fractures, and it also leads to serious injury in one out of every five cases. 

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