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The Most Common Cause of Fatal Injury Among the Elderly Isn’t What You Expect!
The following are the three most common causes of fatal injury among the elderly. Examine each cause and consider areas where you or your loved ones may have vulnerabilities to fatal injuries. This will allow you to take steps to prevent the situation, often through health and safety products designed for the elderly. It just may save a life.
Accidental Overdose of Prescription Medication
Prescription drug overdose has long been one of the top causes of death, due to injury, in the United States among people who are between 25 and 64 years old. Often, seniors have a series of prescribed medications that they take every day. It is easy for a dose to be forgotten or taken more than once. More than 80% of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are accidental. Only around 12% actually occur due to suicidal intent.
A person can accidentally overdose on their prescription medication because they don’t remember taking the meds that day. An additional risk is a formed addiction to the medication. In the United States, more than half of overdose deaths are related to prescription medication.
Prescription medication overdose is a serious problem, which the medical community has been making a concerted effort to curtail. New laws have been introduced and states are tightening the reins on how prescriptions are filled and have regulations on how doctors prescribe controlled substances.
Several companies are developing new technology and strategies to help seniors avoid overdose due to forgotten medication administration. There are timers, pillboxes, and other gadgets that help safely manage prescriptions.
An estimated 500 elderly adults, age 65 years old or older, are injured in car crashes every day. On average, 15 elderly adults are killed in car crashes every day. The fatality rate in crashes greatly increases for seniors over the age of 75. This is due to, for the most part, medical complications that senior drivers may experience, as well as the fact that older drivers are more susceptible to injury.
As people age their vision often declines. They may also experience a decrease in their cognitive functioning, which can negatively affect memory and reasoning ability. Certain physical changes may also occur. Any or all of these factors can contribute to the senior’s decreased driving abilities, and increases the danger of driving.
The number one cause of fatal injury among seniors is from falls. An estimated one-third of seniors in the United States, age 65 and older, will experience a fall each year. These statistics are generated from reported falls - the actual number is likely much larger. Falls in the elderly are also the most common cause of trauma or non-fatal injury that results in admission to the hospital. An elderly adult dies due to an injury that was fall related every 29 minutes.
Medical alert systems with fall detection, like GreatCall Splash, can quickly send help to a senior who has fallen, thus reducing the risk of complications. Medical alert devices allow seniors to enjoy an independent lifestyle and engage in their favorite activities without worrying about being unable to get help.
Prevention of falls and accidents along with a quick response when accidents happen will help you care for yourself and your family better. Take the time to create preventative measures, and live a more confident, safe, and happy life!