DENVER– Every year in the U.S., falls among older adults cost up to $67.7 billion. That CDC projection refers to the total cost of hospitalizations, surgery, doctor visits, long-term management of lingering injury (either in rehabilitation or in skilled nursing), prescriptions, insurance processing and medical equipment necessitated by reduced mobility and impaired daily functioning.
With baby boomers aging and life expectancy increasing, falls have become more of a problem than in previous generations. About 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year, resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. The average cost of a fall-related claim is $16,000.
To help address these startling statistics and to instill confidence in movement and balance, Nymbl Science has developed an evidence-based approach to reducing falls and the risk of falls. It relies on an app to combine fun cognitive challenges with simple body movements that can be performed easily on a smart device within the comfort of one’s own home for just 10 minutes a day.
“Nymbl has been scientifically proven to reduce fall-related injury by more than 35 percent in older adults,” said Nathan Estrada, PT, DPT, clinical vice president for Nymbl Science. “Not only does Nymbl help older adults achieve a better quality of life, it also translates to significant savings for insurance companies.”
Despite medical advancement, older adults are twice as likely to die from a fall today compared with 15 years earlier, Estrada said, referring to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June 2019. Researchers don’t know for certain why the death rate from falls has increased so dramatically, but Estrada has a theory.
“Fear of falling is a major predictor of falls,” Estrada said. “Although more older adults have been identified by their doctors since 2000 as being at risk for a fall, these seniors haven’t often been given adequate fall prevention education or fall risk reduction opportunities,” he explained. “This only increases their fear of falling and avoidance of activities. That can lead to deconditioning, resulting in a greater risk of falls with more severe injury or possibly, death.”
“More than half of all falls happen at home,” Estrada said, “so it’s important to offer balance training in the place where falls occur.” Users of the Nymbl app learn how to apply balance training techniques where they need them most.
Nymbl Science recently partnered with several major healthcare insurers to help a combined population of 96,000 older adults. Together, Nymbl and insurers are committed to helping older adults reduce their risk of falling with Nymbl’s in-home balance training solution.
“We’re actively seeking more partnerships with healthcare insurers interested in helping their members prevent falls,” Estrada said. “Aging is not a disease, and Nymbl Science provides a cost-effective, viable solution to balance challenges.”