Many of us have a relative or friend who has fallen. They may have slipped while walking or felt dizzy and fallen after standing up. Maybe you've fallen yourself. If so, you're not alone. More than one in three people age 65 or older falls each year. The risk of falling—and fall-related problems—rises with age.
Risk Increases With Age
More than 1.6 million older U.S. adults go to emergency departments for fall-related injuries each year. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and deaths due to injury. Fractures, especially of the hip, can lead to hospital stays, disability, and loss of independence among older adults. Fortunately, most healthy, independent older adults hospitalized for broken hips can return home or live on their own after treatment and rehabilitation. But many cannot and need long-term care.
Fear of Falling
Fear of falling becomes more common with age, even among those who haven't fallen. Consequently, older people may avoid walking, shopping, or taking part in social activities. If you're worried about falling, talk with your healthcare provider. Your provider may prescribe physical therapy to help improve your balance and walking—and restore your walking confidence. Getting over your fear can help you to stay active, maintain your physical condition, and avoid future falls.