Watch CBS News

Hackensack University Medical Center offers comprehensive fall prevention program for older adults

Hackensack University Medical Center offers geriatric fall prevention program
Hackensack University Medical Center offers geriatric fall prevention program 01:54

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- For older adults, falling down can be a life-altering event.

It sends millions of adults to emergency rooms every year and can often lead to other medical problems.

Eighty-two-year-old Lynn Ladas lives alone in her New Jersey apartment and recently had to go to the hospital after a series of falls.

"Did you have any injuries?" CBS News's Bradley Blackburn asked.

"No. She's gonna be mad at me now," Ladas said.

She's not worried about the danger, but her daughter Nicole Ladas sees things differently.

"I want to keep her safe. I know what a fall can do to an elderly person," Nicole Ladas said.

Nicole works at Hackensack University Medical Center, where their geriatric medicine center has a comprehensive fall prevention program. They sent an occupational therapist to visit Lynn's home to do a risk assessment and make suggestions to prevent falls in the future.

"We can kind of practice that, and then I can say, OK, how about we try doing it this way instead?" the occupational therapist said.  

Falls are the leading cause of hospital admission for older adults, and one fall doubles the chance of falling again, according to the American Geriatric Society.

Hackensack's program looks at everything from a patient's home environment to their muscle condition to their mix of medications, all of which can be falling risks.

"Falls ... require addressing all of the above, not just one particular factor," said Dr. Manisha Parulekar, geriatrics division chief for Hackensack University Medical Center.

She says caretakers often have to make the call when an older person needs help and advice from a medical professional can carry more weight.

"You need that neutral third party to have that and somebody who's considered as an expert," Parulekar said.

Lynn is willing to make changes that could help keep her safe and independent.

"You have to realize, you're not going to be able to do what you did," Lynn Ladas said.

Because a fall is nothing small as you age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 1 in 4 older adults falls each year, but fewer than half of those people tell their doctor about it. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.