Even for younger, healthy adults, a minor fall can cause serious injuries. From fractured or broken bones to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage, a slip or trip may easily lead to harm that requires medical attention.
However, the risk is even greater for older Americans. The National Council on Aging reports that falls are the most common cause of both nonfatal and fatal injuries for people over age 65.
Senior fall statistics to know
The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in five older adult falls results in serious physical harm, such as broken bones, head injuries or spinal damage. The CDC also reports that U.S. adults who are 65 or older experience at least one fall every year. Other statistics to know include:
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries
- Annually, over 800,000 patients require hospitalization after a fall
- About 3 million senior Americans need emergency room care for fall injuries each year
Hip fractures are some of the most common types of serious injury; over 95% of hip fractures among seniors are the result of a fall accident.
Complications following a fall
Recovering from a fall can be much more difficult for older adults. Lower bone density increases the likelihood of fractures and breaks, and a decreased ability to heal quickly can mean a long and painful recovery.
Seniors can do much to minimize fall risks at home. However, visiting public places is often a danger for older Americans. Poor lighting, uneven, slick or damaged walkways, missing or broken handrails and wet, snowy or icy parking lots are all examples of premises hazards that can pose a serious slip-and-fall risk if property owners fail to address safety issues.