Every year, millions of dollars are spent on insurance claims due to seniors falling. These aren’t just numbers in a balance sheet; they represent real people—our parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors.
The financial implications of these falls are staggering, with the cost of increased insurance premiums for senior living providers being passed down to residents in the form of rate increases.
There is hope, however: fall reduction measures, such as the innovative technology provided by EyeWatch LIVE™, can significantly mitigate these expenses.
The impact of resident falls on insurance rates for senior living providers
One of the most significant financial implications (1) of resident falls in senior living communities is the direct impact on insurance rates. Insurance providers base their premiums on risk assessments, and a high incidence of falls within a community can lead to increased premiums. According to this Marsh report (2), claim frequency is projected to rise by 1.4% in 2023, with claim severity rising 2.1%, resulting in a 3.5% increase in loss rates. The more falls that occur in a community, the harder the hit to that provider’s bottom line.
Understanding the insurer’s perspective
From an insurer’s viewpoint, frequent falls within a senior living community may indicate potential systemic issues, such as inadequate staff training, poor facility maintenance, or lack of proper safety equipment. Each fall represents not only a potential insurance claim but also a potential lawsuit. The more frequent these incidents, the higher the perceived risk for the insurance company.
Direct and indirect costs
The direct costs of falls, such as medical bills and rehabilitation services, are evident. Out of 11,000 claims paid by senior living operators over the past decade, more than 75% (3) were the result of a resident fall, with an average closed claims cost of $189,129, based on 2023 cost levels. However, there are indirect costs that senior living providers must consider. These include:
- Increased insurance premiums: As mentioned, a rise in the number of falls can lead to higher insurance premiums. Over time, this can amount to a significant financial burden for senior living providers.
- Legal fees: Falls can sometimes result in lawsuits, especially if the resident or their family believes that the fall was due to negligence on the part of the provider. Legal fees, settlements, and the potential reputational damage can be costly.
- Operational disruptions: After a fall, there might be investigations, mandatory reports, and potential changes to operations, all of which can disrupt the regular functioning of the community.
The ripple effect on the senior living community
Beyond the direct and indirect costs, there’s a ripple effect on the senior living community. When insurance premiums rise, those costs are often passed down to the residents in the form of increased rates. This can make the facility less attractive to potential new residents, driving occupancy rates down.
Moreover, a community known for frequent falls might face reputational challenges. Word of mouth is powerful, especially in tight-knit communities. A reputation for being unsafe can deter potential residents and their families from considering the community, leading to decreased admissions.
The importance of proactive measures
Given the profound impact of resident falls on insurance rates and the overall financial health of senior living providers, proactive measures are essential. Implementing comprehensive fall prevention programs, investing in safety equipment, and ensuring regular staff training can significantly reduce the incidence of falls. Technologies like EyeWatch LIVE™ can play a pivotal role in this, offering real-time monitoring and intervention, thus minimizing risks.
By taking these proactive steps, senior living providers can not only secure the safety and well-being of their residents but also maintain a positive reputation and keep insurance premiums in check.
The financial impact of falls to older adults & their families
The gravity of senior falls cannot be overstated. As highlighted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), falls are the leading cause of hospital admissions for physical injuries in Americans over 65. But what does this mean in monetary terms? In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the average medical bill for a fall injury was $35,000. After insurance, seniors might still be left with a significant portion of this bill. But the financial implications don’t end at the hospital door. The National Council on Aging estimates that the medical fees in the first year after a fall injury range between $10,000 and $20,000.
The human cost of falls
Beyond the immediate financial costs, the human toll of falls is immense. Seniors who experience falls often suffer from reduced mobility, long-term disabilities, and a decreased quality of life. This not only affects their physical well-being but also their mental and emotional health. The fear of falling again can lead to decreased activity, social isolation, and depression. Moreover, the psychological impact on families, witnessing their loved ones suffer, is profound. The emotional trauma and stress associated with such incidents can have long-lasting effects on the entire family.
Why fall reduction is crucial
Given the profound implications of falls, both financially and in terms of human suffering, fall reduction becomes not just important but crucial. It’s not just about preventing injuries; it’s about ensuring a better quality of life for seniors, reducing the long-term financial burden on families and insurance providers, and ultimately, creating a safer environment for our elderly loved ones. Fall reduction is an investment in the well-being of our seniors and a proactive approach to healthcare that can save countless lives and dollars.
EyeWatch LIVE™: a revolution in fall reduction
In the face of this challenge, EyeWatch LIVE™ emerges as a game-changer. By combining cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) with nursing-specialized human intelligence (HI), it offers a proactive approach to monitor and prevent falls among seniors. The AI-enabled cameras work in tandem with senior living community staff, identifying potential risks in real-time and notifying caregivers when issues arise. This isn’t just technology; it’s a lifeline. The integration of AI with human expertise ensures that the system is not just reactive but also predictive, identifying potential fall risks before they happen.
Benefits to senior living owners and operators
For senior living owners and operators, there are numerous advantages of integrating EyeWatch LIVE™, including:
- Reduced liability claims: An active reduction in falls, elopements, and other risks directly translates to fewer liability claims. This can result in significant savings, improving the bottom line for senior living facilities.
- Additional revenue streams: EyeWatch LIVE™ isn’t just a safety measure; it’s also a potential revenue stream. Owners can offer it as an added service, creating a new avenue for income. This can also enhance the facility’s reputation, attracting more residents.
- Improved resident quality of life: Fewer falls mean happier residents. This leads to increased lengths of stay, improved occupancy rates, and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Benefits to seniors and their families
For seniors and their families, the benefits are even more profound:
- Peace of mind: Knowing that their loved ones are under the watchful eye of EyeWatch LIVE™ provides immeasurable peace of mind. This assurance can be a significant relief for families, knowing that their loved ones are in safe hands.
- Financial savings: With fewer fall-related incidents, families can expect significant savings in potential medical costs. This can ease the financial burden on families, allowing them to allocate resources to other essential needs.
- Enhanced quality of life: With the risk of falls reduced, seniors can lead a more active, fulfilling life. They can participate in community activities, socialize more, and enjoy their retirement years without the constant fear of falls.
Prevention strategies for fall reduction
While technology plays a pivotal role, there are other strategies that can be employed to reduce the risk of falls (2):
- Regular health check-ups: Regular visits to the doctor can help in early detection of health issues that might increase the risk of falls. Medication reviews, vision tests, and balance assessments can be crucial in identifying potential risks.
- Improving the safety of the home environment: Simple changes at home, like removing loose rugs, installing grab bars, and ensuring proper lighting, can make a big difference. Additionally, clutter-free pathways and non-slip mats in bathrooms can further reduce risks.
- Physical activity: Regular exercise, especially balance-enhancing activities like Tai Chi, can significantly reduce the risk of falls. Strength training and flexibility exercises can also be beneficial.
The way forward
Fall reduction isn’t just a “nice idea;” it’s a necessity. With solutions like EyeWatch LIVE™, we have the tools to make senior living safer and more fulfilling. It’s time to embrace these solutions and create a world where our seniors can live without the constant fear of falls.
Why choose EyeWatch LIVE™?
In the realm of fall reduction, EyeWatch LIVE™ stands unparalleled. Their mission to keep frail seniors safer is evident in their innovative approach, combining AI and HI for maximum efficiency. With a free 30-day trial offer, the benefits of EyeWatch LIVE™ are just a click away.
For more information on fall reduction and how EyeWatch LIVE™ can help, contact us today.
References: (1) “Financial Effect of Fall Prevention Can Be Significant” by Greg Freeman, published August 1, 2022 on Relias Media https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/financial-effect-of-fall-prevention-can-be-significant-no-issue
(2) “2022 General & Professional Liability Benchmark Report” published February 28, 2023 on Marsh.com
(4) “Senior Fall Prevention: 7 Expert Safety Tips” by Anthony Martin, published June 22, 2023 on Choice Mutual Senior Resources https://choicemutual.com/blog/preventing-falls-for-seniors/