A healthy 72-years old, a friend’s mother, stepped outside the home into a gap between two paver stones on the footpath, stumbled, fell, broke her hip, was operated within 48-hours but just couldn’t get back to her normal routine, deteriorated physically and mentally and died 14 months later.
This is not an uncommon story. Many of you have likely already faced such situations, either with yourselves or with elders in the family and realized how devastating falls and fall related injuries and their aftermaths can be.
The 2011 Census reported 104 million people in India above the age of 60, grown to around 139.5 million in 2020 (10.1% of the population), including 91 million above the age of 65 (6.57%) and 52.5 million above the age of 70, (3.8%) of the population.
Worldwide, the incidence of falls in 2017 was 172 million. In India, the estimated incidence was 22 million falls(accounting for 12.7% of all global falls) across all ages. Falls are now the 10th commonest cause of death in India and around 220,000 people across all ages died of falls or fall-related complications in 2019.
While good data from India is limited, one recent review suggested a fall rate of around 31%  in those over the age of 60, paralleling data from the US where 28.7% of people above the age of 65 fell in 2015 .
In short, we need to not fall and if we fall, not fracture. This is one of the 5 major factors that we need to control to be atmasvasth.
Today’s focus is on falls prevention. I will tackle the issue of bone health and other measures to reduce our risk of fractures, if we fall, in another piece.
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