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How to Prevent the Leading Cause of Accidental Death Among Senior Adults

Heart attacks, stroke, cancer — each of these gives us reason to worry about the health of aging loved ones. But did you know that household hazards could pose an even greater risk to the health and well-being of senior adults? Falls rank among the leading causes of accidental death in the United States and are the top cause for fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults. Falling can be dangerous at any age, but for senior adults, slipping or tripping and falling can cause hip fractures, broken bones and head injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one-third of older adults who fall, suffer a hip fracture and are hospitalized, die within a year. Even without hospitalization, a history of falling could also lead to anxiety and depression that prohibits older adults from maintaining an active lifestyle. Fear of falling causes many senior adults to lose confidence and become less active as a result. The good news is that there is much we can do to help prevent accidental falls by making living environments safer for our aging loved ones. Senior adults can fall for any number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of falls include: Loss of coordination, flexibility and/or balance Vision or hearing loss Side effects of medications, such as dizziness, dehydration or interactions with other meds Environmental factors, such as tripping hazards around the home Chronic conditions such as diabetes, stroke or arthritis If you are a caregiver and/or loved one of a senior adult, here are six simple steps the National Council on Aging recommends to help prevent falls: Talk about...