Rain weather alerts may signal increased fall risk for elder citizens

Precious Silva – Fourth Estate Contributor, Local News Louisville

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – According to a new study, elderly people fall 20% more during Canadian winters after a freezing rain alert.

The findings suggest that there is a need for stronger cautions against going outside when the roads are icy, and more help from local governments, families, or neighbors.

The senior author of the study and an associate professor in the department of Epidemiology, Biostatics and Occupational Health McGill University in Montreal, David L. Buckeridge , said that the alerts really do mean something. He added that “If you’re an older adult, it’s probably better to take it easy for a day or two.”

For some people, bad and icy weather exponentially increases their risk, according to Buckeridge .

Studies in the past have found that around 50% of the falls among the elderly take place when they are outside. As a result, the study team decided to look at how many of the outdoor falls take place during Canada’s winter weather.

The team gathered and analyzed emergency room data on patients in Montreal from the years 1998-2006, and compared days with freezing alerts to days with snowstorm alerts. They totaled injury reports for 136,000 people aged 65 and older.

They found that there was a 20% increase in falls among the elderly when there was a freezing rain advisory. The risks were significantly higher for people aged 75 and older.

Men were 31% more likely to fall on days that had freezing rain alerts, compared to other days, according to Bucker… MORE

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