More awareness and improved screenings could help prevent falls and falls-related injuries in seniors, according to a new report released by the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging this week.
Additional recommendations listed in the “Falls Prevention: National, State, and Local Solutions to Better Support Seniors” report included assessing a senior’s home for fall risks and reducing the use of prescription medications that could increase chances of falls.
“The Committee, through this report and other efforts, seeks to encourage individuals, communities, and governments to work together to reduce falls risk among older adults and make available evidence-based solutions to prevent falls in the home and community, as well as strategies to support complete recovery from falls,” the report stated.
Americans currently spend about $50 billion in medical costs for fall injuries, according to the report. That number is expected to reach $100 billion annually by 2030.
LeadingAge encouraged the committee to turn to nursing facilities to help inform comprehensive, evidence-based fall prevention policies. The organization said detailed falls risk assessments used to evaluate new residents in nursing facilities could serve as a template for adding a risk assessment to Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visits. They also recommended adding vision care to Medicare coverage.
The committee, led by Chairman Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and ranking member Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), also held a hearing Wednesday to discuss the report. The hearing featured witness testimony from several advocates, including leaders of Healthy Aging and the Center for Healthy Aging.