Each year, millions of adults, age 65 and older, experience a fall. Falls cause moderate to severe injuries, including hip fractures, lacerations and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear causes a person to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, which increases their risk of falling.
Who is at risk?
Age is the single biggest risk factor for falls. Older people have the highest risk of death or serious injuring falling with your risk increasing as you age. This increased risk may be in part due to physical, sensory and cognitive changes associated with aging, in combination with environments that are not adapted for an aging population.
Additional risk factors include:
- Underlying medication conditions, such as neurological, cardiac or other disabling conditions
- Side effects of medications, physical inactivity and loss of balance
- Poor mobility, cognition and vision
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Socioeconomic factors, including poverty, overcrowded housing, sole parenthood
- One out of three older adults (aged 65 and older) falls each year but less than half notify their primary care physician about this.
- In 2013, 2.5 million nonfatal falls among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 734,000 of these patients were hospitalized.
Preventing Falls >>