Addressing a $19 billion problem
President Bush last week signed the Safety of Seniors Act into law. The measure aims to raise awareness about falls among the elderly and expands research into identifying at-risk populations. The law comes at a critical time: 1 in 3 Americans age 65 and older falls each year, and about 30% percent of those who fall require medical treatment. Nationally, 42% of all nursing home admissions can be linked to geriatric falls, according to Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who sponsored the House version of the legislation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that it costs more than $19 billion annually to treat the elderly for the effects of falls.