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How common are falls among older Americans?

Falls are the single-largest reason Americans visit the emergency room each year, and statistics show your risk of slipping and falling and injuring or dying as a result increases alongside your age. The National Floor Safety Institute reports that in addition to facing an elevated risk of a slip-and-fall injury as you get older, you also face a greater risk if you are a female.

Falling is so common among elderly populations, in fact, that one in three Americans over 65 will suffer a fall each year, with about half of those people falling more than once.

Falls and injuries

A serious fall can leave you with any number of injuries, although some are more common than others. For example, many seniors involved in slip-and-fall accidents suffer hip fractures, which in turn can lead to death and cause an assortment of associated health issues. Additionally, about half of those over 65 who suffer hip fractures find they are no longer able to live and provide for their own basic needs following their accidents. Many seniors also suffer brain and spinal cord injuries after falling, with falls serving as the second-most-common cause of brain and spinal cord injuries among this population.

Falls and fatalities

The number of older Americans dying from fall-related injuries, too, is on the rise, with the number of associated fatalities climbing by more than 7,000 over a recent 10-year period. Furthermore, your risk of taking a tumble increases with every decade you pass, with falls serving as the leading cause of injury-related death among those 85 and older and the second-most common cause of injury-related death among those between the ages of 65 and 84.

Steps you can take to minimize your risk of a fall include wearing glasses and contact lenses as directed, taking care to stay physically active and making sure you are not mixing medications that cause imbalance or dizziness.

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