Hidden Falls: The Unseen Danger to Seniors

Posted by Vayyar on 14 December, 2020

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It’s often the undiagnosed illness or the unidentified pathogen that poses the greatest health risk. The same holds true for falls suffered by the elderly. 

Reports show that nearly one in three people aged sixty-five or older fall each year - a total of 29 million incidents causing 7 million injuries, 2.8 million ER admissions and 800,000 hospitalizations. In fact, every 19 minutes an elderly person dies from a fall.

However, this data does not reflect the fact that nearly half of older adults do not discuss falls with caregivers or even family members, which is why they are now described as “hidden falls.”

When a fall goes unreported, the senior citizen cannot receive the medical attention they may need. And the fallout can be disastrous. Hidden falls kill.

A slippery slope

Falling once doubles the likelihood of falling again due to physical complications such as muscle or nerve damage.

Many people who fall, even if they’re uninjured, become afraid of falling. This may cause them to cut down on their everyday activities, making them weaker and increasing their chances of falling again.

What’s more, if caregivers are unaware of the initial event, they’ll be unprepared for what may be a more serious subsequent fall. Two out of three people who fall once will fall again in the next six months, 25% of seniors who suffer severe fractures pass away within a year, while 10% of assisted living residents end up moving to nursing homes after falls, putting pressure on operators struggling to cope with low occupancy rates.  

Fall detection for rapid response to falls and emergencies

Pride comes before - and after - a fall

Why are seniors not telling loved ones or staff when they fall? The reasons vary:

  1. Many seniors do not want to disturb their loved ones or cause them to worry.
  2. Some elderly people feel a sense of shame that they are increasingly vulnerable.
  3. Others fear that they will lose their independence and be forced to rely on full-time care.

Overcoming this reluctance is a major challenge for caregivers and requires a fresh approach. 

A commonsense solution

Senior living operators can play a vital role in fall prevention by assessing older adults for fall risk, enabling them to take actions to mitigate it, such as reviewing medication dosage.

New technologies enable them to do just that. Vayyar Home, for example, is a solution based on advanced radio frequency technology. It does not rely on cameras that would compromise privacy. A sensor is discreetly placed on the wall of a resident’s room, instantly detecting falls and alerting staff members. The resident does not have to take any action whatsoever.

The solution not only eliminates the possibility of a hidden fall, but also provides caregivers with the data that enables them to help in the prediction of falls. For example, they can analyze the length of time a resident spends in their room and in bed, as well as the number of times they visit the bathroom. This enables them to identify changes in behavior that could indicate a deterioration in overall health or an adverse reaction to medication that could increase the likelihood of a catastrophic fall. 

This data-driven approach is leading a growing number of senior living operators to deploy these sensors, safeguard their residents and boost occupancy rates by preventing the falls that force seniors into full-time care and reduce their longevity.

Learn how Vayyar Home keeps communities safer with rich data that enables rapid response to falls and enhanced resident well-being. 

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Topics: Senior Care