Winter weather risk of falls could be deadly

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Winter weather increases the risk of falling, which could result in serious injury that limits life expectancy and costs billions of dollars in health care.

One-quarter of older adults who suffer a hip fracture from a fall will die within six months of the injury according to local physical therapist Michael Gibson of Comprehensive rehab.  Those who survive have a 10 to 15% reduction in their life expectancy.

Health care costs for treating falls among older adults are projected to be $43 billion by 2020.

In a March 2013 newsletter, Gibson says prevention is key and it starts with a simple and common-sense approach focused on prevention.

In other words, don’t push yourself into a risky situation.

“Mitigating your fall risk can be what keeps you out of a lengthy hospital stay and rehabilitation process.  Take your time and calculate a safe path to walk through if you must travel in these conditions,”  Gibson said.  “Above all else, trust your instinct.”