Keep on Your Feet—Preventing Older Adult Falls
Falls are common and costly, especially among Americans age 65 and older. But falls are preventable and do not have to be an inevitable part of aging.
Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S.—making falls the leading cause of injury and injury death in this age group. One out of four older adults will fall each year in the United States, making falls a public health concern, particularly among the aging population.
- Thirty million older adults fall each year—resulting in about 30,000 deaths.
- Each year, 3 million older adultsexternal icon are treated for a fall injury.
- One out of every five fallsexternal icon causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
- More than 95% of hip fracturesexternal icon are caused by falling—usually by falling sideways.
- Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.
Falls and motor vehicle crashes, which are related to mobility, are the two leading causes of injury and injury death in older adults.
Use the mobility planning toolpdf icon to help keep yourself—or your loved ones—safe, mobile, and independent.
Falls are not a normal part of aging. You can keep on your feet and avoid the risk of a fall. Take steps to stay safe and independent longer. Learn what you can do to reduce your chances of fallingpdf icon.
A great first is reading CDC’s Stay Independent brochurepdf icon. Complete the questionnaire, if you score four or more points, you may be at risk for falling.
- Talk openly with your doctor about fall risks and prevention.
- Tell your doctor right away if you have fallen, if you’re afraid you might fall, or if you feel unsteady.
- Review all of your medications with your doctor or pharmacist and discuss any side effects like feeling dizzy or sleepy. Some medications, even over-the-counter and herbal supplements, can increase your fall risk.
- Do you get dizzy or lightheaded when you go from sitting to standing? CDC’s Postural Hypotensionpdf icon brochure has information on how to manage these symptoms.
- Have your eyes checked annually and update your glasses, as needed. Conditions like cataracts and glaucoma limit your vision.
- Have your feet checked. Discuss proper footwear with your doctor and ask whether seeing a foot specialist (podiatrist) is advised.
Make Your Home Safe
- Remove things you can trip over from stairs and places where you walk.
- Use the Check for Safety brochurepdf icon to help identify and eliminate fall hazards from your home.
- Remove small rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom—inside the bathtub and next to the toilet.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
- Make sure your home has lots of light.