George H.W. Bush’s Recent Fall Brings Attention to Senior Safety

After a fall Wednesday at his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, resulted in a broken neck bone, former President George H. W.  Bush remains hospitalized. Bush is expected to make a full recovery, but his accident is fodder for senior safety concerns; neck injuries from falls by seniors can be debilitating and sometimes fatal.

According to reports about the accident, the injury is not life-threatening. The nation’s 41st president suffered a break in his C2 vertebrae, which, luckily for him, is away from the spinal cord and not in a crucial zone of the neck. Bush will, however, have to wear a neck brace, which will add to the limitations brought on by Parkinson’s disease which already leaves him wheelchair-bound.

Yet despite struggling with Parkinson’s, the former president is known for his health and fitness, having celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving. For his age, this is the biggest contributing factor to his unusual recovery.

“It is a significant injury, but right now the [former] President is in excellent shape, and we would anticipate that he would make a full recovery,” Dr. William D’Angelo, his attending physician at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

For seniors concerned about their fall potential, follow these steps to ensure the safest, healthiest lifestyle:

  • Fall-proof your house: remove rugs and clutter, put in railings, and be sure to have adequate lighting especially over steps and staircases
  • Strengthen your bones: 1,000 mg of calcium is recommended each day to build strong bones for men and women over age 50
  • Soak up the sun: adults should consume 600 IU of vitamin D each day
  • Stay active: seniors who walk regularly have healthier hearts and stronger muscles than those who don’t
  • Get tested: adults age 65 and older should undergo regular bone-density screenings for osteoporosis; since some treatments are available it is best to catch this disease at the start