Facts About Older Adult Falls
- Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S.—making falls the leading cause of injury and injury death in this age group.
- About 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year resulting in more than 30,000 deaths.
- Every year, over 3 million older adults are treated in the nation’s emergency department for a fall related injury.
- One out of five falls causes an injury such a fracture or head injury.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling – usually by falling sideways.
- Women fall more than men and account for ¾ of all hip fractures.
What Can You Do?
Falls are not a normal part of aging. You can keep on your feet and avoid the risk of a fall. Take steps to stay safe and independent longer.
- Talk openly with your doctor about fall risks and prevention.
- Tell your doctor right away if you have fallen, if you’re afraid you might fall, or if you feel unsteady.
- Review all medicines with your doctor or pharmacist and discuss any side effects like feeling dizzy or sleepy. Some medicines, even over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements can increase your fall risk.
- Do you get dizzy or lightheaded when you go from sitting to standing? Tell your doctor right away to manage these symptoms.
- Have your eyes checked annually and update your glasses, as needed. Conditions like cataracts and glaucoma limit your vision.
- Have your feet checked. Discuss proper footwear with your doctor and ask whether seeing a foot specialist (podiatrist) is advised.
- Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve you balance (like Tai Chi).
Make Your Home Safe
- Get rid of trip hazards. Keep floors clutter free.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
- Place a non-slip mat in the shower or on the bathroom floor
- Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them. If needed, have an electrician put in another outlet.
- Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.