As America's population ages, serious injury or death from falling is on the rise. Listed here are selected findings by the Centers for Disease Control and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
- Falls are the most common cause of fatal injuries among elderly adults age 65 years and older, as well as the most common cause of nonfatal injuries in the U.S.
- Each year, more than one-third of adults 65 and older experience a fall.
- Roughly 15,800 people in the U.S. aged 65 or older died from falls in 2005.
- Nearly 2 million people 65 and older went to emergency rooms or hospitals for treatment from falls in 2005.
- Up to 30% of people who fall each year suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head traumas.
- The most common fractures from falls are of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
Hip fractures account for about 1 in 8 injurious falls among the elderly.
- Many people who fall, even those who are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and physical fitness, and increasing their actual risk of falling.
- Men are more likely to die from a fall. After adjusting for age, the fall fatality rate in 2004 was 49% higher for men than for women.
- Women are 67% more likely than men to have a nonfatal fall injury.
- After age 75, white men have the highest fatality rates, followed by white women, black men, and black women.