The New York Times ran a great two-part feature by Katie Hafner this past week about how falls will affect an aging nation.

Of course, that article won’t get as much attention as a three-paragraph brief about someone from Liberia who arrived at the Newark airport with the sniffles.

If Ebola, or a really bad flu, came and swept over us, it would probably affect older people, too. We have to pay attention to that sort of thing.

But Hafner pointed out that falls contributed to the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans ages 65 and older from 2002 through 2012.

In other words: “Simply falling” kills about as many people each year as the flu. 

Many long-term care insurance (LTCI) claims also start with someone “simply falling.”

This is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. Maybe this would also be a good month for us to think about how to reduce the need for long-term care in the first place by figuring out ways to reduce the chances that older people will fall.

Possible ways agents and brokers — even those who have nothing whatsoever to do with LTCI or LTC planning — could do to contribute to this fight:

  • Tell your clients that this is an issue.
  • Make sure any stairs in your own offices have accent stripes marking the top and bottom steps, so that people with limited vision can see where the steps start and stop.
  • Encourage clients who are getting on in years to carry cell phones or wear wearable communication devices, so they get help if they fall when no one else is around.

In honor of Long-Term Care Awareness Month, take a look at our coverage here.