Senior Falling Leads to Injuries, Sometimes Death, But There are - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Senior Falling Leads to Injuries, Sometimes Death, But There are Ways to Prevent Falls Before They Happen

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Sometimes the falls for seniors could be fatal. Sometimes the falls for seniors could be fatal.
TRI-CITIES, WA- Every year, millions of seniors have fallen across the nation, and it sometimes leads to death, but there are ways to prevent these injuries.

Senior citizens falling has been a serious problem.  Nearly 1 out of 3 seniors 65 years old and up has fallen according to the Center for Disease Control.  Only about half of those people actually tell their health care provider about it, which has caused it to be an even bigger problem.

"I had no idea how I got on the floor, but I know I couldn't get up," said Rose Maria Allen, fall victim.

It could happen at any moment.  It could be scary, minor or even put someone in the hospital.  You could be down for hours in just a matter of seconds.  Falls for people 65 and older are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries.  The National Council on Aging reported that falls happen every 14 seconds.

Evernell Fears was a victim while getting out the bed one day.

"When I slipped off there, I didn't have enough strength in my arms to pull myself back up on the bed, so I just went on down to the floor," said Fears.

Fears was down there for at least four to five hours.  She rolled all the way to the living room, laid there, and prayed until help came. 

In 2013, there were 2.5 million non-fatal falls treated in an emergency department and almost 800,000 were hospitalized.

Kathleen Clary-Cooke with the Benton-Franklin Health District said falls can be avoided.  Doing things like getting regular eye exams and exercising are key.  Even taking yoga or tai chi classes can help.

"Work on both strength and balance and even if you've been a couch potato your whole life, it's never too late to start," said Clary-Cooke.

Lack of strength is not the only thing causing falls.

"So many falls are caused by dizziness brought on by medication, both prescription and non-prescription medications," said Clary-Cooke.

Rose Marie Allen has to take medicine for her diabetes.  One night, she woke up on the floor with no clue why.  Medicine may have caused this fall, so her doctor reduced her dosage.

"He took some of my medications away because he felt like I was taking too many different kinds," said Allen.

Both Fears and Allen also have medical alert devices.  Allen hesitated to use her device after falling, but said if she fell again, she would not think twice about pushing for help.

"If you do have a life alert like this, push it because you'll get help," said Allen.

Clary-Cooke said families can also help prevent falls as well.

"Staying home is not the answer to staying safe," said Clary-Cooke.

She said families should be proactive.  She suggests talking to loved-ones and checking the signs.  Some of the signs are when they hold onto walls or furniture.  Check their house to make sure there are no dim lights, check the staircase, bathroom, and every other room because the majority of falls happen in the home.  Other items like throw rugs, house shoes without a back, and too much clutter, can also cause falls.

Fears and Allen both know what it is like to fall.  They are better after getting the help they needed.

These falls are preventable.  If you have fallen or want to get help before it actually happens, talk to your family member, talk to your doctor, and fall proof your home.