WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Falling is a scary reality for tens of millions of seniors as they are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for those 65 and older.
Whether someone is in this demographic or you have loved ones who are older, falling is a legitimate fear. It’s why the experts say it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk of suffering a serious fall.
Getting around isn’t as easy as it once was for 83-year-old Mary Dippolito of Wilkes-Barre.
“I just lost my balance,” Dippolito said.
She relied on her walking assistance device Thursday at the Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market. The fear of falling is understandable as we age.
According to the CDC, about 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year. About 3 million of them are treated in emergency departments for falls.
“It’s very serious because of the impact on folks’ quality of life,” Chief Medical Officer of Tivity Health, Doctor Maria Granzotti said.
Dr. Granzotti says for many older adults, a fall will rob them of their independence. But for roughly 32,000 each year, falling will cost them their life.
“So, we need to really address what we can do to mitigate falls or the severity of a fall if we do fall,” Dr. Granzotti explained.
One way is through programs like SilverSneakers which work to improve balance, stability, and strength.
“There’s actually modules and programs within SilverSneakers that help address fall risk,” said Dr. Granzotti.
“You have to plan ahead, for your age and mobility,” Patrick Smith of Hanover Township said.
Patrick and Lorraine Smith, both 70 years old, take precautions to not be among those who suffer a fall.
“We were smart enough that we moved from our house that had two floors to a ranch,” Patrick continued.
“You do have to be careful. That’s my motto. Hold onto the rails… One fall and you could be down for a while. So you know we take that as a priority in our house and even when we are out,” Lorraine Smith of Hanover Township added.
For seniors who are signing up for Medicare, you can look for plans to include programs designed to help prevent the risk of falling.
The Medicare deadline to sign up is December 7.