Statistics of Falling: How Many Older Adults Report a Fall Each Year?
The statistics of falling down say that about one out of every 4 older adults are recording a fall once a year. They may or may not have to seek medical care.
That statistic of falling came from a health information survey. That is where surveyors called people over 65 years old and interviewed them about their health.
The statistics of falling that I shared above is not the number of people who reported to their doctor they have fallen. A lot of people fall and they never tell anybody, including their doctor.
If the person does not end up in the hospital, or is seriously injured, they just kind of try to brush it off, minimize it, and never report it.
Many older adults who fall keep it a secret.
Some people develop a fear of falling.
What is a Fall?
A fall is defined as “an unintentional landing on a lower level,” in the absence of a loss of consciousness.
That definitely includes landing on the floor. That could be landing on the bed or a chair.
What if you happen to be near a bed or a chair when you lose your balance and you land on the bed, but it was unintentional?
That incident still counts as a fall because you lost control of yourself. If the bed or the chair had not been there, you would have ended up on the floor.
Talk to Your Doctor
We do not want people to hide the fact that they are falling because if a person has had one fall it actually indicates a higher risk of falling again. In fact, some statistics of falling down state that 50% of people who fall will fall again within 6 months.
The good news on that is that 50% of people who fall will not fall again within 6 months also!
I would suspect that the 50% who are not falling again within 6 months are the ones that are telling their doctor and doing something about it.
Time for an Action Plan
So that is the key, the very first fall needs to be a wake-up call for an intervention.
Interventions are steps and actions that you can do to prevent falls or really reduce the risk of falls.
These steps may include speaking to your healthcare provider, staying active, get your vision checked, and make your home safer.
You may need to install grab bars in the shower or attend physical therapy.
If you are dizzy, you can use this article to find an appropriate provider to treat dizziness.
Reduce the Risk of Falling to Improve the Statistics of Falling
Considering the statistics of falling down, we have to realize that we cannot prevent people from falling 100% of the time. Anyone of any age can fall at any time.
The goal is to reduce the likelihood – or risk – that someone is going to fall when they are over 65 years old.
For example, the use of assistive device may reduce the statistics of falling for some people with wobbly walking.
We can reduce the risk of falling by intervening on specific risk factors that we know increase the likelihood that someone will fall.
The learn more about risk factors of falling and preventing falls, click here.
For more information about how medication can contribute to falls, click here.
For suggestions on footwear to reduce statistics of falling, click here.
To watch my UCSD Stein Public Lecture on fall prevention, click here.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.