You accidentally slip on a wet bathroom floor, trip on a loose throw rug, or lose your balance on the stairs. If you or an older person you know has fallen, you’re not alone. Each year, more than 1.6 million older Americans go to the emergency room for fall-related injuries. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury-related deaths. But falls are not an inevitable part of life, even as you get older.
Information about the risks of falling and how to prevent falls has just been added to NIHSeniorHealth (www.NIHSeniorHealth.gov), a joint effort of NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Library of Medicine (NLM).
“Falls can have devastating effects in older people,” says Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director of NIA.
In fact, a simple fall can cause a serious fracture of the arm, hand, ankle or hip. Only half of older adults hospitalized for a broken hip return home or live on their own after the injury. That’s why prevention is so important. Information about taking care of your health, reducing hazards at home, exercising and making other lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of falling is now easily accessible on NIHSeniorHealth.
Older Americans increasingly are turning to the Internet for health information. For the 66% of “wired” seniors who now surf for health and medical information when they go online, NIHSeniorHealth features short, easy-to-read information in a variety of formats, including large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos and even an audio version.
Additional topics coming soon to NIHSeniorHealth include clinical trials, nutrition and skin cancer. The site also links to MedlinePlus, NLM’s premier, more detailed site for consumer health information.