The NY Times reports that as our nation ages, the incidence of injuries from falls is increasing at a rapid rate. The article begins, in part, as follows:
As the population ages and people live longer in bad shape, the number of older Americans who fall and suffer serious, even fatal, injuries is soaring. So the retirement communities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes where millions of Americans live are trying to balance safety and their residents’ desire to live as they choose.
Those who study and manage retirement facilities and nursing homes say there is heightened attention to preventing falls. Trying to anticipate hazardous conditions, retirement facilities like The Sequoias hire architects and interior designers, some of whom wear special glasses that show the building as an old person would see it.
The dangers are real. The number of people over 65 who died after a fall reached nearly 24,000 in 2012, the most recent year for which fatality numbers are available — almost double the number 10 years earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And more than 2.4 million people over 65 were treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls in 2012 alone, an increase of 50 percent over a decade. All told, in the decade from 2002-2012, more than 200,000 Americans over 65 died after falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in that age group.
Read the full article at Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation – NYTimes.com.