Senior Fall Prevention 101: Preventing Complications

Senior Lady Gardening with Hat

Judith is a passionate, loving grandmother who cherishes her independence. Judith will be turning 75 this November, and her mobility isn’t what it used to be. In fact, Judith sometimes has balance issues, and her son Toby is worried. Toby loves her to bits. He knows Judith insists on living in the house she has lived in for the past 30 years, but Toby wants Judith to be safe. Especially from falls. 

Your situation might be similar to Toby’s. Your worries – Toby’s worries – about falls are justified. Elderly falls are extremely common; 1 in 2 seniors over 80 fall each year. Falls have devastating side effects that cost seniors both monetarily and emotionally. This is especially true if the fall is left untreated.

At Alert1, we want your loved one to age in place as safely as possible. Although you can’t predict when an accident will happen, you can help avert costly complications with an Alert1 medical alert device. This way, both you and your loved one can have peace of mind when she ages in place. 

Facts About Falls

Scientist with Pipette in Medical Lab

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three seniors fall annually.

While falls are a scary reality, most seniors don’t want to acknowledge them. It’s completely understandable. To many, falling is a sign of weakness. These seniors feel that acknowledging a fall means that they’re getting old and don’t deserve their independence. The last thing your loved one wants is to be seen as weak or burdensome.

In fact, many seniors will never tell their loved ones about their falls. On top of this, two thirds of seniors who fall will fall again within six months.

Even those that acknowledge their falls often brush them off as “nothing.” Sometimes, they don’t even know that they actually got hurt. 

Issues Related to Falls

As much as your loved one would love to shrug off a fall, it shouldn’t be an option. Of those who aren’t injured during a fall, 47% of them can’t get up without help.

Let’s take a look at Betty’s story. Betty is an energetic lady who loves gardening and taking strolls in the park. However, when she fell, her strength failed her. She couldn’t get up. Luckily, her daughter Karen decided to drop by 15 minutes later to say hello.

Had Betty’s daughter not helped her up so quickly, Betty might have had some serious issues. If an elder cannot get up within 30-60 minutes of a fall, they run a high risk of dehydration, pressure sores, hypothermia, and pneumonia. Getting immediate help after an immobilizing fall increases a senior’s chance of survival by 80%. This holds true even when the senior is injured.

Injuries from Falls

Senior Talking with Doctor

Falls are the most common way to get injured as a senior. There are four common types of injuries: fractures, bruises, brain injuries, and soft tissue damage.

Soft tissue damage is when muscles, ligaments, or tendons have been hurt.

It goes without saying that head trauma needs to be checked as soon as possible. In fact, one senior hit her head during a fall and didn’t receive help for 30 minutes. She ended up in a coma for the rest of her life.

Even easily treatable injuries, such as fractures, have significant complications if left untreated. Seniors with untreated fractures can develop clots, pneumonia, and kidney problems.

Treating injuries is expensive, but not treating them is even more expensive in the long run. Especially when left untreated, a fall can cause a downward spiral that is hard for both your loved one and her wallet.

Sue and Joe’s Story

PAX with its base station

Joe lives two states away from his mother Sue. Sue, who loves her independence, was 82 years old when she started falling. She never told anyone about her previous falls because she didn’t want to be seen as weak. However, this time, she fell in front of Joe and got a concussion. While at the hospital, Sue had to have surgery due to stomach problems caused by a previous untreated fall. This started a downward spiral for Sue. She ended up spending four months recovering. By the end of the four months, she had three trips to the hospital, eight ER visits, and six weeks in rehab.

Obviously, Sue’s healthcare costs were staggering. In addition to this, Joe missed four months of work. And it wasn't like Joe was on vacation. He was worried, taking care of his mom, and sleeping on the floor. By the end, Joe was exhausted.

With Joe and Sue’s case, it’s clear why people on average spend $35,000 treating a fall. This number only includes direct healthcare costs. It doesn’t include salaries forgone or any emotional tolls.

Luckily, you can avert these heavy costs by preventing complications.

Prevent Complications with Alert1

Medical alert devices can lower costs by preventing downward spirals. Obtaining appropriate care as soon as the fall occurs is a critical step. Medical alert devices, especially those with fall detection, will help your loved one get the right care as soon as possible. When your loved one falls or presses her button, help will be on the way.

Also, first responders can make sure your loved one is in good shape. For instance, one Alert1 member’s daughter recalled that,

“In June, Mother [Cheryl] fell and used her Alert1 [medical alert device]. When EMT got there, she told them she was fine. They checked her and took her on to the hospital to find that she had a broken pelvis.”

If Cheryl brushed off her fall, she could’ve had major complications, like Sue’s. Luckily Cheryl had Alert1.

Location, Location, Location

Lady Jogging in the Woods

For seniors, falls happen, no matter the location. About half of senior falls take place outside. Regardless of location, you want your loved one to be protected. Alert1’s PAX mobile fall device has your back. 

Since the PAX medical alert device uses GPS, it works everywhere. Even if your loved one doesn't know her location, our representatives can find her using state-of-the-art satellite location technology. Also, PAX has fall detection, meaning that responders will be on the line whenever a fall happens. No matter where it happens.

Avert Costly Complications with Alert1

Although falls are a part of senior life, they are the last thing seniors should shrug off. As a senior, falls are the most common way to get injured, which can set off a chain reaction of complications. These cost both you and your loved one money and pain. 

Luckily, with Alert1, you can pre-emptively resolve complications with a medical alert pendant. With it, your loved one can age in place with the independence she deserves. Not only will our medical alert device help you save on costs, you and your loved one will have priceless peace of mind.