General fall statistics

Understand the Risks

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, "Each year one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death."

    • Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults.

    • Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 29 minutes, an older adult dies as the result of a fall.

    • Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions and 40% of all nursing home admissions.  40% of those admitted do not return to independent living; 25% die within a year.

    • Although one-third of seniors fall each year, less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it, compounding potential medical problems.


      • Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, including lacerations, hip fractures, or head traumas.

      • In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency rooms, resulting in hospitalization for 36%.

      • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in older adults.

      • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.

      • Older women are more than twice as likely as senior men to sustain a fracture from a fall.

      • Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. The rate for women is almost twice the rate for men.

      Associated Costs:

      • Seniors age 75 and older who fall are almost five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.

      • The average hospitalization cost for a fall injury is $34,294.

      • In 2011, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, was over $36 billion.

      • The overall financial cost of older adult falls is predicted to increase as the population ages, and is estimated to reach $61.6 billion by 2020. 

      Falls with or without injury both strongly impact quality of life for seniors. Older adults increasingly fear falling; due to this, they limit their own activities and social engagements. This, in turn, causes further physical decline, depression and feelings of helplessness, loneliness and seclusion.

      The Consequences:  Fatalities and Injuries


      • The fatality rates from falls among older adults have risen sharply over the past decade.  Each year, approximately 20,000 adults age 65 and over die from unintentional fall injuries.

      • Men are more likely than women to die from a fall. After taking age into account, the fall death rate in 2010 was 40% higher for men than for women.

      • Fatality rates from falls also differ by ethnicity.  Caucasian seniors are more than twice as likely to die from falls as African American and Hispanic seniors.

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