caregiver helping senior woman who has fallen

Falls are a growing concern to family caregivers, according to a new study by dementia technology firm SafelyYou.

In a poll of 1,249 adults, more than two-thirds of those who reported taking care of a loved one said that person had experienced one or more falls. About the same number of respondents said they were proactively taking steps to reduce their own fall risk as they age.

“The cost of falls is enormous, taking huge physical, emotional, and financial tolls,” SafelyYou co-founder and CEO George Netscher said in a statement. “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.” 

The report found that caregivers could also be at risk of falling as well. Nearly half of adults over age 42 said they had experienced a fall over the past five years and 60% said they had sustained an injury in the fall. The injuries ranged from broken bones, concussions and lacerations.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in people 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They’re responsible for an estimated 3 million visits to emergency departments annually for older adults and cost the U.S. healthcare system about $50 billion annually.

Since many falls happen at home, home care agencies have joined forces with handyman services to make structural modifications to prevent them. Last week, two New York aging service agencies joined forces with the National Association of Home Builders to modify the homes of seniors so they can safely age in place. The HomesRenewed Coalition is lobbying Congress to allow seniors to make tax-free modifications to their homes to prevent falls.