America’s older adult population is on the rise.
In an effort to keep older adults healthy and safe from injury, BG works with CDC to promote its various safety initiatives. We create communications that empower older adults to better prepare for what the future may bring by staying active, aware, and connected.
Even as the pace of the country’s overall population growth is expected to slow in the years to come, the percentage of adults over the age of 65 continues to expand. In 2030, every living member of the baby boomers, the largest living generation, will be over 65, and by 2035, there will be more older adults than there are children for the first time in our nation’s history.
As Americans live longer, their risk of injury from falls and motor vehicle crashes increases.
According to CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Death, and Injuries (STEADI) initiative, older adults experienced 29 million falls in 2014, and suffered 7 million injuries as a result. By 2030, those numbers are expected to increase to 79 million falls and 12 million injuries.
In addition to injuries caused by falls, older adults, especially those over 75, experience the highest rate of death from motor vehicle crashes compared to any other age group. In fact, of the 44 million licensed drivers over the age of 65, 257,000 visited emergency rooms resulting from car crashes and nearly 7,700 were killed.
The severity of older adult injuries caused by falls or motor vehicle crashes can often include traumatic brain injury, loss of mobility, and other hardships that can result in decreased quality of life, which can lead to depression and in some cases, suicide.
But falls and motor vehicle crashes are not an inevitable part of aging, and preventing them is a high priority for the CDC whose STEADI and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) programs provide tips and information on aging without injury to healthcare providers and the general public, respectively. STEADI offers a number of brochures, fact sheets, and other resources designed to educate older adults and caregivers on how to prevent falls, and NCIPC has facts and tips that can help older adults drive safely and maintain their mobility and independence.
There are many ways for family members and concerned individuals to get involved with older adults, ensuring they can maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Along with injury prevention, there is a growing emphasis on encouraging older adults to participate in social activities that will improve both their physical and mental health, allowing them to live longer, healthier, happier lives.
If you are interested in providing assistance and friendship to older adults in your community, the Senior Corps program of the Corporation for National & Community Service offers volunteer opportunities through its Senior Companions.