Fall injuries are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, you can expect to pay more than $30,000 on average for a hospital stay after a fall injury. And that price tag doesn’t even factor in additional costs for follow-up care.
Moreover, falls are common among the elderly. An older person falls every second of every day, according to the CDC. Meanwhile, the likelihood of a fall increases with age, up to 37 percent in people 85 years or older.
After the first fall, a senior faces a more significant risk of falling again. According to the medical article in Gait and Posture: “Many people who fall...become afraid of falling.” The fear will induce stiffened body movements and hinder returning to a natural walking motion.
Furthermore, because of the body’s aging process, your elderly loved one may have a tougher time recovering. Sometimes, he or she may experience a downward spiral because of the initial fall. The resulting medical costs can quickly and unexpectedly get out of control.
A Steep, Costly Decline
Dick recalled the rapid decline of his father. Claire was in his 80s when he fell for the first time at home. He took a tumble inside a four-story house. The fall eventually led to hip surgery. But first, Dick said doctors rejected his father for the medical procedure. “It took some convincing for the anesthesiologist to operate on him,” Dick said.
The anesthesiologist was not confident Claire would survive the surgery due to the “risk of his heart not making it,” said Dick. At Claire’s age, prolonged anesthesia posed a dangerous risk to the heart.
Thankfully, the hip surgery went smoothly. Claire stayed at the hospital for a few days. He used a walker to return home. Claire focused on recovery, but he could not walk up the stairs, according to Dick. To be supportive, the son moved five miles down the road from his father’s house.
Unfortunately, the octogenarian needed more attention. Claire had to be transferred into an assisted living center. Once again, he fell. This time, Claire ended up in a wheelchair.
Sadly, his health rapidly declined. Claire entered a nursing home shortly after the second fall. He fell for a third time down some stairs while in his wheelchair. The recovery process required intensive care for a week. At the end of Claire’s life, he remained confined to a bed.
Beyond the emotional toll on the family, Dick said he had to deal with stiff financial pressures when navigating his father’s care. The cost of surgery, hospital stays, medications, physical therapy, doctor’s visits, assisted living center and nursing home quickly drained the bank account. Dick and his family members wrestled with mounting medical bills.
Fall-Proof to Prevent Financial Crisis
Claire’s journey out of his home may have been preventable. He could have had a better chance to ‘age in place’ with the help of a professional caregiver. A trained caregiver knows how to help prevent falls. This person can foster a safe, healthy home environment for your senior.
The professional caregiver can regularly assist your loved one with safer mobility around the home. Adjustments to fall-proof the home can prevent your senior from a tragedy and make a host of changes, so your senior is protected.
Recall Claire’s multiple falls and the economic toll on his family. Selecting a quality home care provider can help mitigate the risk of such an overwhelming scenario. You will be making a proactive choice toward reducing the risk of falling for your senior. As a result, you are safeguarding your family from a potential source of financial crisis.
Save on Fall Recovery
Of course, the best-case scenario is for your loved one not to lose balance; however, should your senior endure a fall injury, he or she has a better shot of recovery with trained supervision from people who have cared for others in this situation.
A professional caregiver will offer consistent and friendly support to your elderly loved one -- a cheerleader for the senior on the mend. After a fall, your loved one will be fearful of falling again. According to the same article in Gait and Posture, "This fear may cause a person to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker, and this increases their chances of falling."
Help your elderly loved one break out from the negative cycle. The professional caregiver is ready to offer a host of services like grooming, bathing, food preparation, medication reminders, grocery shopping and companionship. In turn, your senior can feel more confident, because home care can prevent the chances of another dastardly fall.
Moreover, if your loved one has already fallen, your family must focus on avoiding a costly hospital readmission. The first month after a hospital discharge is critical. It’s time to focus on stabilization, so your injured loved one doesn’t go back. “Elderly adults have a much lower chance of recovery if they are re-hospitalized in this 30-day window, which is why reducing hospital readmissions is so important.”
Save your senior’s wellbeing. Also, save your family from financial distress. Don’t wait for the first fall. Because by then, your senior’s risk has already doubled.
Learn more on how to prevent a physical and fiscal tragedy. Download the Safe and Steady Fall Prevention Program.