Injuries caused by falls (like cuts, bruises, broken bones, and internal bleeding) can require serious medical attention and treatment. These injuries can prevent people from working and from being able to cover medical costs. According to CDC, about $50 billion each year is spent on medical costs related to non-fatal fall injuries. Falls also pose a major threat to older adults. Injuries from falls can cause older adults to become more dependent on others and need long-term assistance.
National & State Data
Falls are the leading cause of serious injury and injury-related death among adults 65 years and older. Individuals are more at risk for falls as they age due to physical changes, health conditions, and even medications.
According to the CDC, national data shows that:
- over 34,000 deaths of adults 65 and older were due to falls in 2019.
- three million emergency department visits were due to falls of adults 65 years and older.
- around 28% of adults age 65 or older report falling each year in the United States.
According to Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) data, falls are consistently the leading cause of non-fatal injury hospital admissions and emergency department visits in Maryland. These data show that:
- 11,813 hospital admissions and 131,105 emergency room visits were due to falls in 2019.
- the rate of older adult deaths due to falls is 68 fall deaths per 100,000, which is slightly above the national rate of 64.
What is the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) doing to address falls?Falls Prevention Awareness Week
is a national and statewide health campaign aimed to increase awareness around falls and reducing falls risk. For one week each September, Mayrland’s Core State Injury Prevention Program (SIPP), the Maryland Department of Aging
, the National Council on Aging
, and other organizations promote falls prevention education and resources, host activities to raise awareness about the effects of falls among older adults, and highlight ways to prevent falls and related injuries.
MDH’s Core State Injury Prevention Program (SIPP) partners with the Maryland Falls Free Coalition and the Department of Aging to obtain a Governor’s proclamation for the campaign and coordinates statewide promotional efforts on behalf of MDH. Local health departments distribute educational publications as well as conduct activities, presentations, gait and balance workshops, home risk assessments, demonstrations, and health screenings throughout Maryland communities.
To learn more about Maryland’s Core SIPP program, go to the Core State Injury Prevention Program
Tips to Prevent Falls
These tips from the Mayo Clinic
may help individuals prevent falls and fall-related injuries.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about having a falls prevention plan, current medications, health conditions, and falls history.
- Do physical activity to improve your balance, flexibility, and strength.
- Wear shoes that fit well and are anti-slip and lightweight.
- Keep your home and floors clear of clutter, boxes, cords, and loose area rugs.
- Install and use assistive devices like handrails and grab bars.