Addressing a $19 billion problem

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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.

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