Senior Fall Prevention
Statistics of Unintentional Falls
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDPHP) staff reviewed the latest national data from the CDC concerning deaths and injuries to people 65 years and older.
CDC reports the death rate from falls among older adults has increased by 42 percent from 2000 to 2006. Each year, one in three Americans aged 65 and over falls. In 2010, over 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments with more than 650,000 of these hospitalized.
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and account for 50 percent of deaths and 8 percent of hospitalizations of older adults. Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.
One of the greatest financial challenges facing our nation is the rising cost of health care services required by older Americans. Reducing falls among older Americans will significantly decrease these health costs.
Facts About Falls
- Widespread: Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those 65 and over, and as baby boomers join the ranks of 65+, the number of injuries and deaths are escalating. The chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.
- Often Fatal: Over the past 10 years, death rates due to falls have risen sharply. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury death. Currently, over 22,900 older adults die from falls each year. Up to 20% of hip fracture patients die within one year.
- Very Expensive: In 2012, over $30 billion in direct medical costs was spent treating older adults for the effects of falls, with 78% of these costs reimbursed by Medicare. Medicare costs in the first year after a fall averaged between $13,797 and $20,450. If we cannot stem the rate of increase in falls, it is projected that the cost in 2020 would be $67.7 billion, including Medicare costs estimated at about $48 billion.
- A February 2014 study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery found that ground level falls among older adults presaged a high risk of subsequent hospital readmissions.
- In a study of people age 72 and older, the average health care cost of a fall injury totaled $19,440.
- Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. They are the most common and most costly type of nonfatal injuries, accounting for 61% of the cost of nonfatal fall injuries, or $18.8 billion.
- The average cost of a fall related hip fracture injury in 2006 was $37,000. In 2010, there were 258,000 hip fractures and the rate for women was almost three times the rate for men. One in four of those suffering a hip fracture will stay in a nursing home for at least a year, with most of these costs paid by Medicaid.
- The national 2005 death rate (per 100,000 people) from unintentional falls for people 65 and older was 42.96. Available data for Nevada from 2005 shows the unintentional fall death rate (per 100,000) was 37.90.
- Nevada state statistics from the Center for Health Data and Research showed 132 deaths in 2004 as a result of unintentional falls. Of the 132 deaths, 70 percent occurred in Clark County; 64 percent of those deaths were people 65 and older.
- Hospital discharge data collected by the Center for Health Data and Research for 2003 through 2005 showed that 10,035 people were admitted to Nevada hospitals as a result of an unintentional fall. This was 45 percent of all hospital admissions for accidental injuries during that three year period.