Injury prevention from falls

Who is at risk for an injury from falling?

The chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age. Between 2009 – 2013, the rate of fall injuries for adults 65 and older was almost five times that for adults 50 to 64. The rate of death from falls was 10 times greater for adults over 65. (Source: IDPH)

People age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.

In 2015, the average cost of a fatal fall was $26,340 while the average cost of a nonfatal fall was $9,780. (Source: CDC Special Report)

How does a falling injury impact someone's life?

  • In addition to medical costs, falls also contribute to a decreased ability to perform household tasks, a reduced quality of life, and may result in loss of independence for those over 65.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.
  • Many people who fall develop a fear of falling, which may cause them to limit activities, leading to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, which increases their risk of falling. 

How likely are you to have a fall?

No one can say for certain if or when a fall may occur. But there are several risk factors that may predict how likely you are to have a fall.

Knowing your risk can help you prepare and protect yourself. Take our online questionnaire to learn more.

This self-assesment is for general information purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your physician or other professional healthcare provider.

Adapted from Stay Independent," a free brochure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015

What can older adults do to prevent falls?

  • Exercise regularly to increase leg strength and improve balance.
  • Consume a healthy diet with adequate protein and vitamin D.
  • Review medicines with a doctor or pharmacist to identify ones that may cause side   effects such as dizziness.
  • Be properly evaluated and fitted for adaptive equipment, including eyeglasses, shoes or walking devices.
  • Make homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars & railings in baths

If you live in Johnson County, you can participate in Stepping On, an evidence based fall prevention workshop provided by University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in partnership with the Visiting Nurse Association of Johnson County. Find more information and sign up for classes online, or call VNA at 1-319-337-9686 x1100.

References

Special Report from the CDC
The direct costs of fatal and non-fatal falls among older adults — United States
Elizabeth R. Burns, Judy A. Stevens, Robin Lee
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

Received 12 May 2016
Accepted 12 May 2016
Available online 28 May 2016

Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition. (2016). Policy Brief: Falls in Iowa (2016). [Article].

Last reviewed: 
June 2017

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