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November 8, 2013

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Falls taking a heavy toll among elderly

falls are a top killer among older residents, the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

Commission officials spoke ahead of an educational presentation at Huangxing Park on ways to avoid such falls.

A total of 1,982 registered residents in the city died directly from falls last year.

Of that number, 85.3 percent were more than 65 years old.

That statistic, however, does not reveal the true extent of the toll, said officials.

A broken hip or other serious injuries sustained in a fall can precipitate a health crisis that results in an older person’s demise, officials said.

Last year, 68.2 percent of  hospital visits by seniors for injuries were due to falls, according to the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s registry.

For seniors admitted as inpatients due to injuries, 83.5 percent were because of falls.

Falls can also result in disability and trigger a cascade of negative factors affecting an elderly person’s physical and psychological health, including a fear of falling again.

Falls are preventable and controllable, health authorities said. After trials in Changning District, Shanghai last year began promoting measures to prevent falls by the elderly.

Under these, communities are advised to conduct risk evaluations and renovations at homes, stairs and community surroundings.

Measures that can be taken include installing handrails along stairs and clearing roads after snow and rain.



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