Haifa, Israel (PRWEB) May 06, 2013
The numbers are shocking: one in three adults over the age of 65 will fall and hurt themselves this year. According to the CDC, “falls are the leading cause of injury death among the elderly. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.”
What’s the strain on our medical system? In 2010, the elderly made over 2.3 million fall-related visits to emergency rooms. In total, the cost of accidental falls tops $30 billion per year.
But there’s another, often hidden cost to these traumatic accidents: the fear and anxiety that many elderly experience after a fall. Often, they’re so terrified of standing and walking that they never recover; they’re just too nervous to participate in their own rehab. Many elderly reduce their connections with family and friends and stop working and participating in recreational activities. Ironically, the fear of falling again is the main factor increasing their immobility and increasing their risk of a future fall.
The medical system is great at replacing hips, setting bones, and stabilizing patients after a fall. What we’ve been missing is a systematic, evidence-based approach to get the elderly back on their feet after a fall: some way to reduce their severe anxiety and give them confidence to resume a full and active life.
A team of researchers from Cornell Medical School and MediGait have collaborated to create the first program to tackle the problem of severe anxiety resulting from falls. The program attacks the anxiety on two levels:
At the cognitive level, psychology researchers from Weill Cornell Medical School developed a 30-day intervention program - “Back on My Feet” - an exposure-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) protocol. This program deals with thoughts and feelings to address the core symptoms of avoidance, anxiety, and debilitating fear.
At the same time,
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