BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), the number of older people dying after falling continues to greatly increase. The CDC estimates that if the rates continue at the current pace, there will be seven (7) fall deaths every hour by 2030.
Older adults are prone to serious injuries from falls because their bones are more brittle. That is combined with less activity by older individuals which can leave the person with low muscle strength and ability to balance.
Erie County Senior Services Commissioner Timothy Hogues said falls are the top reason why older adults end up in nursing homes and rehab units.
There is also an impact on caregivers and their families who are often called upon to help the injured person.
But the reality is, a fall can open the door to more serious medical complications - including death.
"I've seen people who are vital and robust, all of a sudden not there. And tragically, sometimes I never see them again," said Richard Derwald, Erie County Fitness Program Coordinator.
Falls among older adults cost $50 billion annually, according to the CDC, with 1 in 4 adults over age 65 falling each year.
How can you minimize the risk of falling for an older adult?
Erie County Senior Services offers several fall prevention programs that focus on strengthening muscles, increasing balance and making sure homes are free of trip hazards.
Unfortunately, there are still caregivers and older residents who are not aware of the free programs.
You can sign up for the programs and learn more here: Erie County Senior Services
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly takes a closer look at how older adult falls are impacting caregivers.