Falls have significant physical and emotional impacts on elderly Australians. They can affect health, mobility, lifestyle and independence and are a significant factor contributing to admission to a residential aged care facility. Did you know that 1 in 3 Australians over the age of 65 years will suffer a fall this year? That’s nearly 1 million elderly people falling this year alone! As our population rapidly ages and grows, this number will continue to increase significantly, with negative implications on not only individuals and their families, but also the wider community as the health care system struggles to cope. It’s going to be vitally important for the modern society to adapt to, and plan ahead to minimise risks to allow keep people living in their own homes longer.
Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalisation in people aged 65 years and over. Every day in Queensland alone, there is one death and 35 hospital admissions due to fall-related injuries. In addition to the physical pain, a fall may lead to a fear of falling, avoidance of daily activities, social isolation and reduced quality of life.
The good news? Falls don’t have to be an inevitable part of ageing and most falls are preventable. There are common risk factors which increase a person’s risk of falling. You can help reduce your risk of falling by:
- knowing the risk factors for falling
- taking action to stay healthy and active
- creating a safe environment in and around your home.
Even if you do not experience falls now, preventing them is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your independence as you get older.