Deep Bench: Wis. has double the amount of falls than the national average

WAUSAU, Wis. (WZAW) -- Wisconsin has the nation's highest rate of deadly falls among the elderly, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The numbers are so high in fact, that they double the national average. Deaths from falls in Wisconsin outnumber deaths from breast and prostate cancer combined.

Falls resulted in about 129,000 emergency room visits and nearly 16,000 hospitalizations in 2017, according to the state Department of Health Services. Medical charges for falls exceeded $1 billion.

While the reason for the high number of deadly falls isn't down to a science, there are some factors that play a role.

Erin Wells, the community resource manager for the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin joined the Deep Bench on Tuesday.

"It could be something as complex as the reporting that is done or the amount of people living at home, so there's a lot to it," Wells said.

Wells said in Marathon County, 904 people reported a fall in 2017.

The first thing you can do to help prevent a fall is to take a look at your home.

"Something as simple as removing your throw rugs, putting a grab bar or railing somewhere for you balance," Wells explained.

Wells also advised to talk to your doctor about any medications that you may be on that have a dizziness side effect.

Wisconsin's elderly population projected to grow six times faster than the overall population by 2040.

The ADRC is a great local resource to get more information on benefits for seniors or those with a disability, healthy living classes or caregiver support.

Visit their website: http://www.adrc-cw.org/

Community members are also able to apply at the ADRC for a free ramp to be installed at their home for easier mobility. The ramps are constructed by volunteers at no cost to the homeowner through 'Ramp Up Marathon County'.

More information on that can also be found on the ADRC website.