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Facts about Falls

Common and Preventable

Falls and fall injuries:

  • Are more common than strokes and can be just as serious in their consequences
  • Are the most preventable cause of needing nursing home placement
  • Lead to problems with daily activities like dressing, bathing, and walking around

Among adults 70 years and older:

  • 3 in 10 fall each year
  • 2 in 10 who need home health care after being in the hospital will fall during the first month after coming home
  • 1 in 10 suffer a serious fall injury such as a broken bone or head injury
  • 5 in 10 have problems getting up without help after they have fallen
  • Falls cause over 90% of broken hips; only half of those who break their hip will get around like they did before their broken hip
  • In the United States, 16 percent of all Emergency Department visits and almost 7 percent of all hospitalizations are for fall-related injuries


  • Many of the health problems that increase the chance of falling are known and are treatable.
  • Common, treatable health problems and hazards include problems with walking or moving around, medications, foot problems or unsafe footwear, blood pressure dropping too much on getting up, problems seeing, and tripping hazards at home.
  • As shown in the figure below, the more of these problems an older adult has, the greater the chance of falling.
  • The good news is that you can decrease the chance of falling by improving these problems. A study conducted in Connecticut, funded by the National Institute on Aging , found that treating as many of these problems as possible decreased the likelihood of falling.

The common health problems for falling are:

  • Problems walking or moving around
  • 4 or more medications
  • foot problems, unsafe footwear
  • blood pressure drops too much on standing up/dizzy
  • problems with seeing
  • tripping hazards in your home