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5 Not-So-Fun Facts On Falls That Every Boomer Needs To Know

FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers was recently featured in the Huffington Post after former President George H.W. Bush suffered a fall at his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Unfortunately, falls have become a major problem in our country, and it is important to realize how important balance and walking is for independent living, as well as for work activities, exercise, sports and enjoying life in general.

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The Huffington Post

Ann Brenoff - 7/16/2015

Senior Writer/Columnist, The Huffington Post

Falls are Public Enemy #1 among the elderly

Former President George H.W. Bush, 91, remains hospitalized in fair condition for a broken vertebrae in his neck after falling Wednesday at his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush's injury was not life-threatening and his release is expected imminently. The former president suffers from Parkinson's disease and is unable to walk; he uses a wheelchair or scooter. His fall sparked a renewed discussion about falls among the elderly.

Brian Werner, a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular and balance assessment and rehabilitation at FYZICAL, notes that vestibular disease -- dizziness and imbalance -- impacts more than 40 percent of the population at some point in their lives.

Here are five other not-so fun factoids about balance and falling that underscore the magnitude of the problem:

1. A lot of older people fall.

One-third of the population over 65 falls every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Half the population over 80 falls every year. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.

2. The older you are, the more serious the fall.

People age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer. Yes, a year. Among patients over 75, imbalance is the #1 reason to see the doctor, reported the CDC.

3. The outcome of a fall is generally not great.

Falls land you in the hospital, frequently cause fractures and account for 40 percent of all nursing home admissions. Falls account for 25 percent of all hospital admissions and are the #1 cause of fractured bones. More than 95 percent of all hip fractures are caused by falling, most often by falling sideways onto the hip, said the CDC. One out of 5 people who suffer a hip fracture from falling dies within a year after injury; falls are actually the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly. And 40 percent of those hospitalized for a hip fracture will never return home again or live independently, reports the Archstone Foundation.