From fractured or broken bones to nerve, spinal or head trauma, even a “simple” slip and fall can cause severe injury. However, older adults are especially vulnerable to fall-related harm.
According to National Council on Aging, falls are the top cause of both nonfatal and fatal injuries for Americans over the age of 65.
Fall statistics to know
The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in four U.S. adults aged 65 and over falls at least once each year. While not all incidents are serious, one in five falls results in major physical harm, such as a head injury or broken bones. Additionally:
- In the U.S., 3 million older Americans seek emergency room treatment for fall injuries annually
- Each year over 800,000 fall patients require hospitalization
- Falls are the most frequent cause of traumatic injuries to the brain
Hip fractures are among the most common serious injuries for older adults; over 95% of hip fracture incidents are the result of a fall.
Complications following a fall
Older adults often have lower bone density, increasing their risk for breaks and fractures. Additionally, seniors are more likely to take prescription medications, such as blood thinners, that could cause issues with internal bleeding, even when there are no serious external signs of injury.
Finally, a decreased ability to heal and an increased risk for infection means that seniors often face a slow and often dangerous path toward recovery.
While aging Americans can minimize falls risks at home, visiting public places always carries the risk of hidden hazards, including poor lighting, uneven walkways and lack of necessary handrails. That makes it essential that business owners, landlords and others responsible for premises safety monitor potential dangers vigilantly.