Report reveals 66% are proactively taking steps to reduce their risk of falls as they get older.
State of Falls shines a light on Americans’ sentiment around aging and fears of falling – the top being loss of independence.
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Week (Sept. 18-24), SafelyYou, the leader in empowering safer, more person-centered dementia care through real-time AI video technology and 24/7 remote clinical experts, today released comprehensive research findings that bring into clear focus how prevalent, serious and costly falls are – both financially and emotionally – and paint a picture of how American adults (42+) feel about aging.
“For these caregivers, falls feel like an inevitable worry with which they must learn to live. However, at SafelyYou we know that the risk of falls decreases when caregivers identify ways to make aging individuals safer, and that’s why our continued research in this area is so important.”
The data is staggering: an older adult (65+) falls every second; falls were the leading cause of death from unintentional injury among older adults in 2020; and each year, $50 billion is spent on medical costs related to non-fatal fall injuries. SafelyYou’s inaugural 2022 State of Falls Report pulls back the curtain on falls even further, revealing Americans’ fears around falling, even before they turn 65; the emotional burden of falls for aging individuals and their families; and how senior care providers are assessed based on their ability to manage and prevent falls.
- 67% of family caregivers say their loved one has experienced one or more falls;
- With regards to falls as they age, Americans’ top fear is loss of independence (45%);
- As they age, Americans have the most anxiety around changes in cognition (58%);
- 66% of respondents are proactively taking steps to reduce their risk of falls as they get older;
- At senior housing, operators report an average of 260 falls across an organization. Across assisted living and skilled nursing communities, the average annual direct cost of all falls is $380,000
- On top of that, nearly half (46%) of staff report that labor is a top challenge; 66% say labor issues lead to a decreased quality of care.
“Our report confirms what many families with aging loved ones know too well—falls are a crisis, and it will only grow as our aging population grows,” said George Netscher, founder and CEO of SafelyYou. “The cost of falls is enormous, taking huge physical, emotional, and financial tolls. For those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the impact of falls multiplies. These individuals fall twice as often as those living without cognitive impairment, and they’re sent to the ER much more frequently because they can’t tell you how or why they fell. I started SafelyYou to help end that, to help give a voice to my own loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, and to advocate for them when they couldn’t advocate for themselves. As a company dedicated to creating a world where falls are fewer and dementia care is elevated, sharing this report is an important step in serving our mission and continuing to support residents, caregivers, families, and senior living operators working to reduce fall risk.”
Falls are common, cause anxiety and injury and are top-of-mind for American adults
Nearly half (45%) of American adults over 42 have experienced a fall in the past five years, with more women (48%) than men (42%) having fallen. The top emotion following that fall was embarrassment and shame (44%), followed by anxiety (43%) and fear about getting older (28%).
Following a fall, nearly 6 out of 10 were injured, with men more likely to be seriously injured by a fall; 35% of men broke bones (women: 26%), 23% suffered a concussion (women: 10%) and 25% received stitches (women: 9%). And, for 1 out of 4 (26%) men, the fall led to a move – either in with a caregiver or into a senior housing community (women: 11%).
Falls are top of mind as people age; a majority of the respondents – 66% – are proactively taking steps to reduce their risk of falls as they get older, with the top actions being strength exercises (54%), balance exercises (47%) and regular doctor visits (46%).
Americans are increasingly taking care of – and worrying about – their aging loved ones
1 out of 4 American adults report that they are currently taking care of an aging loved one, and an additional 1 in 5 anticipate having to take care of an aging loved one in the next three years. For those adults acting as caretakers, 67% say their loved one has experienced one or more falls. And for those caretakers with loved ones still at home, 29% are in a constant state of anxiety and worry.
For those adults acting as caregivers:
- 67% say their loved one has experienced one or more falls;
- 49% report their loved one is still able to live in their own home;
- 64% are age 42-44.
Nearly 1 out of 5 anticipate having to take care of an aging loved one in the next 3 years, and 15% in the next 4-6 years.
Even after a person moves into a senior care community, falls continue to have an impact
On average, senior housing operators report 260 resident falls across their organizations per year, with the average estimated operator cost-per-resident-fall being $5,267.
Sixty-seven percent (67%) of executives and care champions report that inadequate staffing has a significant impact on fall-related incidents, while 85% also said falls significantly impact staff turnover. Overall, 20% say there are more falls in their communities today than before COVID hit in mid-2020.
A future with fewer falls is on the horizon: one half believe falls can be prevented, with 66% already having a fall safety team in place to focus on fall prevention and training, and 6 in 10 report plans to enhance their fall mitigation over the next 12 months with new tech tools and improved staff training.
“As our research shows, the physical and emotional toll of taking care of a loved one is real and inescapable,” added Glen Xiong, M.D., clinical professor at UC Davis Health and Chief Medical Officer at SafelyYou. “For these caregivers, falls feel like an inevitable worry with which they must learn to live. However, at SafelyYou we know that the risk of falls decreases when caregivers identify ways to make aging individuals safer, and that’s why our continued research in this area is so important.”
Access the full State of Falls report:https://www.safely-you.com/blog/state-of-falls-report/
SafelyYou conducted an online survey in July 2022 to measure and quantify Americans’ sentiments around falls and aging. The survey captured responses from a broad distribution of 1,249 Adults (42+) in the U.S.
In addition, SafelyYou commissioned Merrill Research to conduct quantitative and qualitative research of 210 executives and 200 care champions at assisted living and skilled nursing facilities across the U.S. The research was conducted in April/May 2022.