The Elderly and Falls


According to the Center on Disease Control (CDC), each year millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people fall each year, 1 but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.


To help prevent falls, any elder facilities should have grab bars in and near showers, railings on all stairwells, adequate lighting and exercise programs in place to help their residents improve and maintain their balance.

What Can Happen After A Fall?

Many falls do not cause injuries. But one out of five falls does cause a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury. These injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live on their own.


 Falls can cause broken bones, like wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures.
 Falls can cause head injuries. These can be very serious, especially if the person is taking certain medicines (like blood thinners). An older person who falls and hits their head should see their doctor right away to make sure they don’t have a brain injury.
 Many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear may cause a person to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling.

What Conditions Make You More Likely to Fall?

Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. These are called risk factors. Many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. They include:


 Lower body weakness
 Vitamin D deficiency (that is, not enough vitamin D in your system)
 Difficulties with walking and balance
 Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants. Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.
 Vision problems
 Foot pain or poor footwear
 Home hazards or dangers such as broken or uneven steps, and throw rugs or clutter that can be tripped over.


Most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling.

Healthcare providers can help cut down a person’s risk by reducing the fall risk factors listed above.