Anyone runs the risk of suffering a serious injury in a fall, but older adults, or those 65 and over, are especially at risk. Falls among older populations may be common, but many of them also lead to emergency room visits, hospital stays and expensive, invasive surgeries.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult now falls once every second across the United States. Many falls are preventable. Often, circumstances that contribute to falls result from someone’s negligence.
Older adult fall statistics
Each year, more than 36 million older adults fall, leading to some 32,000 fall-related fatalities. About a fifth of all falls among older adults lead to injuries, with hip fractures and head, neck, back and spinal cord injuries among those commonly suffered after a fall. About 300,000 older people also undergo hospitalization specifically for hip fractures suffered during a fall, and about 75% of those patients are female.
Older adult risk factors
While age contributes to falling risk, so, too, do other risk factors many older adults share. The use of certain prescription medications may increase fall risks. Many older adults also lack the flexibility or bone strength younger adults have, making them more at risk of suffering a serious injury or broken bone in a fall. Research shows that older women are more likely to fall than older men, so gender, too, contributes to falling risk.
Older adults who fall because someone fails to exercise an appropriate duty of care may have recourse available to them.