Falls are a common, but often overlooked, cause of injury. Around 1 in 3 adults over 65 and half of people over 80 will have at least one fall a year. Most falls do not result in serious injury.
One out of four older adults will fall each year in the United States, making falls a public health concern, particularly among the aging population. About 36 million older adults fall each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths.
One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. The older adult population is projected to increase by 55% by 2060, hence falls rates and health care spending are projected to rise.
People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling, with 30% of people older than 65 and 50% of people older than 80 falling at least once a year. The human cost of falling includes distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence, loss of independence and mortality.
Falls are the leading cause of death, injury and hospital admissions among the elderly population. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, one out of every four Americans aged 65 and older falls each year.
Difficulty getting up from a fall was strongly associated with a history of mobility problems, such as difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Most of the participants had access to call alarm devices, but the devices often went unused.
Reduced muscle strength, increased inactivity, more severe chronic health conditions, and increased use of prescription medications are risk factors for falls among older Americans. Fall injury rates are almost seven times higher for older adults with poor health than for those with excellent health.
A fall can be a sign of a new and serious medical problem that needs treatment. For instance, an older person can be weakened and fall because of illnesses such as dehydration, or a serious urinary tract infection.
Common locations for elderly falls 60 percent of falls happen inside the home. 30 percent of falls occur outside the home, within a community setting (for example, while shopping or walking on the street) 10 percent in a health care center such as a hospital, clinic, or nursing/rehabilitation facility.
Falls are the most common cause of injuries among senior citizens and the top reason for a hospital admission for trauma. Advanced age substantially increases the likelihood of hospitalization after a fall. Falls account for 87% of all fractures among people aged 65 years or older.
Senior care experts offer the following advice for preventing falls at home:
Communicate with the fallen person and try and recognize symptoms of a more serious internal illness like confusion, dizziness, numbness, or difficulty breathing before, during, or after their fall. If they seem to be experiencing a medical emergency, Call 911 and request an ambulance.
Falls can be classified into three types:
As we age, we lose balance function through loss of sensory elements, the ability to integrate information and issue motor commands, and because we lose musculoskeletal function. Diseases common in aging populations lead to further deterioration in balance function in some patients.
Falls are the leading cause of injury in adults aged 65 years or older. The risk of falling increases with age for many reasons, including overall weakness and frailty, balance problems, cognitive problems, vision problems, medications, acute illness, and other environmental hazards.