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Patient Education

Did You Know?

  • Falls are common – 1 in 3 seniors falls each year.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among people 65 and older in the United States.
  • About 3% of all falls cause fractures. The most common are fractures of the pelvis, hip, femur, vertebrae, humerus, hand, forearm, leg, and ankle.
  • Falls increase with age – as many as 40 percent of seniors over 80 experience a fall.
  • About 50% of the elderly who sustain a fall-related injury will be discharged to a nursing home rather than return home.
  • Nursing home residents average approximately 3 falls per year.
  • Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall.
  • Women are 3 times more likely than men to be hospitalized for a fall-related injury.
  • Half of the people who have a hip fracture never regain their pre-fall level of functioning.

What can you do?

There are many simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of falling – and improve your overall health at the same time.

  • Exercise helps maintain muscle strength and balance (check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program).
  • Vitamin D supports bone and muscle health, and thus reduces your fall risk. Many people in the Northeastern United States are deficient in Vitamin D. We recommend that all adults talk to their doctor about getting a simple, inexpensive Vitamin D level check, and taking Vitamin D supplements if levels are low.
  • Proper footwear with the right support aids walking stability and reduces fall risk.
  • A safe home environment that’s clutter-free, well-lit, and has stairwell railings and balance bars in baths and showers, can reduce tripping hazards that lead to falls.
  • Appropriate use of assistive devices such as canes or walkers can improve your stability when walking.
  • A safety alert button is a good idea for the elderly; if you do fall, you will be able to summon help quickly.
  • Medication review with your physician can identify any medications that may be adding to your falls risk.
  • Gait training will build your confidence and ensure more consistent movement that’s less likely to bring about falls.

Learn More From Our Health Encyclopedia