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Anthem Blue Cross Offers Tips for Preventing a Costly Fall
Date:5/9/2011

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year, one in three people ages 65 years old and older has a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The risk increases with age and can lead to serious injury, including hip fractures and head injuries, as well as hospitalization, loss of independence and even death. Fortunately, there are ways to limit the risk of a fall for yourself and a loved one.

Falls can be costly, both physically and economically.

In 2008, emergency departments across the country treated 2.1 million people who were injured in a fall, according to the CDC. More than 559,000 of those people required hospitalization as a result of their injuries, the CDC says. Falls not only affect the injured, but also caregivers, family members and even entire communities.

According to the CDC, $19 billion is spent on medical care related to falls, excluding family caregiving, home care, loss of productivity and the costs of remodeling a home to make it safer. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect costs of falls are expected to reach $54.9 billion.

"This is a very serious issue for people as they age," said Krista Bowers, senior vice president of Anthem Blue Cross (Anthem), which serves thousands of California seniors through its health care plans. "Chances are you know someone in your own family who has been impacted. Falls are unpredictable. The trigger can be anything from an adverse drug interaction to a loose rug. The consequences can be life interrupting."

"In the past, falls probably haven't gotten as much attention as they warranted, considering their impact," added Bowers. "Thankfully, that is changing. Many people are now working to raise awareness of the dangers of falls, including the Centers for Disease Control, the American Geriatric Society; the National Council on Aging and even the U.S. Senate, which passed a resolution establishing a day dedicated to falls
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SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross
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