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National Safety Council Applauds House Passage of Safety of Seniors Act
Date:4/8/2008

Legislation to Deal with Growing Problem of Falls Among Elderly Americans

Leading Cause of Injury Death for People 65 and Older

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With falls among people 65 and older now the leading cause of injury deaths, the United States House of Representatives today passed the "Safety of Seniors Act" (S. 845) to combat this growing and disturbing trend.

"We applaud the House and the leadership of Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ralph Hall (R-TX) for the passage of Safety of Seniors Act," said the Leo Carey, vice president of Government Affairs for the National Safety Council. "This action is a strong signal that Congress not only recognizes that falls among older Americans are a growing public health concern but that Congress is committed to addressing this problem."

The Senate passed the Safety of Seniors Act last August. The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), calls for a public education campaign, research, and demonstration projects to "expand and intensify programs with respect to research and related activities concerning elder falls."

The mortality rate from falls for older Americans has grown 39% between 1999 and 2005. Each year one in three Americans 65 and older falls and nearly 16,000 die from complications due to a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, 1.8 million older Americans were treated in emergency rooms and 433,000 were hospitalized for falls.

"With the nation's more than 79 million baby boomers headed into their senior years this is a problem that will only continue to escalate," Carey continued. "It's also an underreported health problem that is already having a major impact on our nation's health care system."

In 2000, medical treatment for falls among people over the age of 65 cost our nation more than $19 billion. That number is projected to i
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SOURCE National Safety Council
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