EUGLOREH project
THE STATUS OF HEALTH IN THE EUROPEAN UNION:
TOWARDS A HEALTHIER EUROPE

FULL REPORT

PART II - HEALTH CONDITIONS

7. ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES AND RELATED TIME TRENDS: PREVALENCE, INCIDENCE AND MORTALITY

7.4. Data discussion

7.4.2. Safety of elderly citizens

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7.4.2. Safety of elderly citizens

 

The highest mortality rates due to injury are reported among people aged 65 and over (Figure 7.3) with falls being the major cause of these deaths (Figure 7.19.C). Injuries, at an advanced age account for a higher than average hospitalisation rate and an excess share in the direct medical costs

 

Every year approximately 105 000 people aged 65 or older die due to an injury in the EU27.

On average, 1 in 10 elderly will receive medical treatment due to an injury each year, which represents about 8 million cases per year in the EU27 (Working Group of Governmental Experts on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, 2008).

 

As the number of elderly in the European Union population will increase by a factor of two between 2005 and 2050, a significant increase in fatal and non-fatal traumatic injuries is expected if no substantial prevention actions are taken.

 

Figure 7.19.c. Fatal injuries by causes of death, 65+ years of age

 

Several networks and projects are to support the safety of senior citizens, in particular addressing the dominating problem of falls (www.profane.org, www.eunese.org). Relevant documents on this issue are: The evidence report by Todd & Skelton 2004, the policy guidelinePriorities for elderly safety in Europe” (EUNESE, 2006a), and the “Five-year strategic plan for the prevention of unintentional injuries among EU senior citizens” (EUNESE, 2006b).

 

Actions on the safety of elderly citizens should tackle hazards for falls at home (floor covering, illumination, furniture, layout of bathrooms) and in and around buildings (stairs, handrails, design of footpaths) as well as the individual risk factors (e.g. training of muscular strengths, revision of multiple medication). . Existing good practice and innovative approaches in relation to the respective risk groups should be disseminated among related professional groups, management of care facilities and associations of the elderly or pensioners.