Coroner’s report shows high number of elderly deaths by falls

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Members of the York County coroner’s office were busy in 2015. Some of the highest causes of death were by suicide and drugs. but the second leading cause of traumatic death was at-home and by-play accidents. A majority were elderly.

“Most of those are some senior citizens who unfortunately fall and die eventually, sometimes not right away but within a few days of their fall,” Coroner Pam Gay said.

Can falls be prevented? It depends on who you ask. Members of the Pleasant Acres Nursing Home said they deal with a fall almost every day.

“They’re not preventable, but what you can do is take steps to minimize the damage from a fall,” administrator Marlin Peck said.

Steps include getting rid of clutter, using proper lighting, and educating loved ones.

“Folks just don’t realize they’re aging. They think they can still do things they did 30, 40 years ago and in their mind they can,” Peck said.

Gay said there are many reasons the numbers are up; ranging from health issues to lack of supervision, even to more frequent reporting.

“It really, unfortunately, doesn’t take much if they’re in frail condition to begin with and they break a bone,” she said.

The final numbers for pending cases in the report should be out by the end of February. The number one cause of traumatic death was from drugs. Gay said the majority were heroin-related.

To view the report, click here.

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