Is the exaggerated fear of falling among the elderly, the result of fake news?
We are bombarded with fake news and not just by political parties, but also by marketing and most news sources. Often fake news is used to stress a point or attract attention. Stated as true, fake news sounds reasonable, or at least plausible, and in many situations, it is based on a true fact that has been modified to aim an audience in a particular direction.
For example, the original statement “falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.” That statement, which is probably true, (although traffic accidents account for many of the fatal and non-fatal injuries to the elderly), but that statement has been modified by changing “fatal injuries” to “death” which a lawyer would argue is what “fatal injury” means, and “non-fatal injuries” to just “injuries” which is what they are. So, the new statement reads “Falls are the leading cause of death and injuries for older Americans.” This statement is not true, but it’s a good marketing scam.
About 27,000 Americans over 65 die every year from falls: whereas, over 1.8 million over 65 die every year, of which 1.2 million die from heart disease and cancer unrelated to falls or injuries. Falls, especially for older adults, do cause serious injuries and are a major concern, but exaggerating it is a marketing ploy to sell products, and likely does more harm to the elderly than good, by creating an exaggerated fear of falling that results in the elderly limiting activities, which in turn results in a more rapid decline of physical health, which increases the chance of falling. Please note that the first line in this article is a question that asks about whether there is an exaggerated fear of falling, and although couched as a question, in reality, it is a conclusion about the fact that there exists an exaggerated fear of falling in the elderly. Now, is that statement real or is this just another example of fake news? Does it matter? In any case, the statement “falls are the leading cause of death and injuries for older Americans” is fake news and should be taken as such.
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