While many factors affect the risk of falling, age is a major contributor. One in three adults over the age of 65 falls once a year. Of those age 65 and over who fall, 20-30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that increase the need for assisted-living care and chances of early death.
- Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in older people
- Falls are one of the most common problems causing older people to lose their independence
- For a person 72 or older, the average health care cost of a fall injury is over $20,000
How to Reduce the Risk of Falling:
- Exercise. Exercise strengthens muscle and can improve balance and coordination. Exercise does not have to be aerobic. Mind/body practices such as yoga or Tai Chi relax as well as strengthen.
- Fall-proof your home. Almost half of all falls happen at home.
- Remove clutter that you could trip over
- Make sure throw rugs are slip-resistant
- Add handrails to all staircases
- Wear shoes with non-slip treads
- Apply non-slip pads or tape to showers and bathtubs
- Review your medications with your doctor. Combined medications can heighten the risk of falling.
- Make regular visits to your eye doctor.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls among older adults: An overview. Accessed September 24, 2008. Available at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/adultfalls.htm.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Preventing falls among seniors. Accessed September 24, 2008. Available at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/spotlite/falltips.htm#1.