As I support my own father, I am experiencing firsthand how health is dynamic and our ability to do simple tasks such as climbing a staircase changes over time. The changing state of health makes living with chronic diseases difficult for everyone involved – not only for seniors, but also for caregivers as we want to make sure our loved ones are doing well even when we are not with them.
In the United States, one in three seniors fall each year. In past Philips’ studies, results have shown that seniors with osteoporosis, cognitive impairment diseases, diabetes, COPD, and heart disease can fall even more often. Not all health conditions affect falls risk equally, however. Seniors with COPD fell 42 percent more, diabetes patients fell 30 percent more, and those with heart conditions fell 29 percent more than their healthy counterparts. We also found that seniors with chronic conditions fell and required emergency transport up to 54 percent more often than those with no chronic health conditions.
These are statistics we don’t like to talk about, but they are a reality. Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, and over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths. Emergency room visits can be stressful, costly and potentially avoided with solutions and services to better support aging well with chronic conditions.
With 5.3 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer's, 24 million from COPD and 29 million from diabetes, chronic conditions are a growing concern as we age.
Eighty percent of the senior population has at least one chronic health condition, 68 percent have two or more, and about 75 percent of healthcare costs are spent on chronic diseases. These are staggering statistics when it comes to the number of people who are at risk for serious falls, resulting injuries and the cost associated with care.