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Falling in Florida

Conspicuous for its large population of citizens aged 65 and older (3.26 million, or 17 percent), it's hardly surprising that Florida ranks high nationally in the number of annual fatalities from accidental falls.

The latest statistics, compiled by Kyla Shelton, an injury epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health's Office of Injury Prevention, show that in 2006, Florida had the highest total number of fatalities from unintentional falls among its elderly population than any state, with 1,408 deaths recorded.

Still, compared to the rest of the country, Florida's seniors fare much better than their counterparts elsewhere. In 2006, Wisconsin posted the nation's worst record for fatal falls among its seniors, who died at the rate of 112 per 100,000 of their numbers. Florida's rate that year was 46 deaths for every 100K of its population aged 65 and above.

Shelton's latest figures (2008) put the total hospital charges of fall-induced injuries to Florida's elderly citizens in at $2.23 billion. -F.S.


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