Rising Rates of Deadly Falls in Older Adultsby Diane Domina Content Production Editor
Injuries are the seventh leading cause of death in adults over the age of 65 in the United States and falls are responsible for the largest percentage of those deaths, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). In 2016, 29,668 older Americans died from injuries sustained in falls, up from 18,334 in 2007.
The new CDC report looks at age-adjusted rates and trends for deaths from falls among people over 65 based on several factors, including gender, age group, race and ethnicity, and urban or rural status. From 2007 to 2016, the death rate from falls in seniors increased an average of 3 percent per year in the United States and 30 states plus the District of Columbia experienced increases during that time. Eight additional states saw increases for part of the study period.
About one in four seniors report falling each year, resulting in approximately 3 million emergency room visits annually. The largest increase in deaths from falls occurred in people over 85. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that health care providers discuss falls and fall prevention, including appropriate interventions, with their older patients during annual wellness exams.