According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. emergency departments treat approximately 3 million U.S. residents aged 65 and older for fall-related injuries. In the ten years between 2007 and 2016, “the rate of deaths from falls increased…by an average of 3.0% per year,” or 31% overall. Almost every demographic category saw a rate increase.
The CDC points out that the higher rates of deaths from falls among the aged reflect risk factors including reduced activity; chronic conditions such as arthritis, neurologic disease and incontinence; increased use of prescription medications, and age-related alterations in gait and balance. Adults aged 85 and older are the fastest-growing demographic group in America, projected to number 8.9 million in 2030, thus, these findings have implications for care providers.
“The rising number of deaths from falls in this age group can be addressed by screening for fall risk and intervening to address modifiable risk factors such as polypharmacy or gait, strength, and balance issues,” the CDC reports.