Falls continue to be a significant health concern for older adults, often leading to serious injuries and a decline in overall well-being. Recognizing the need to prioritize the safety and quality of life for seniors, communities, healthcare professionals, and individuals are coming together to promote preventive measures and support older Americans in maintaining their independence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and death among older adults in the United States. Each year, millions of seniors experience falls, resulting in fractures, head injuries and reduced mobility. These incidents not only affect the physical health of individuals, but can also lead to psychological distress and a loss of confidence in carrying out daily activities.
In the United States, about one in four adults (28 percent) age 65 and older, report falling each year. This results in about 36 million falls each year. While not all falls result in an injury, about 37 percent of those who fall reported an injury that required medical treatment or restricted their activity for at least one day, resulting in an estimated 8 million fall injuries.¹
CDC’s Injury Center updated state maps showing self-reported older adult falls and fall deaths with the most recent data. You can also see data for the preceding decade on these new maps. Health departments can use these maps to identify counties or regions with high falls burden and prioritize state fall prevention efforts. Data for the Dakotas follows:
North Dakota (2020)
Percent of older adults who reported a fall – 26%
Number of older adults who fell – 30,870
South Dakota (2020)
Percent of older adults who reported a fall – 34%
Number of older adults who fell – 48,809
Access state-based falls prevention coalitions and programs for resources and trainings:
- South Dakota Fall Prevention Coalition
- North Dakota Health and Human Services Falls Prevention Program
The impact of falls on older adults’ health and well-being cannot be underestimated, with injuries often leading to serious consequences. However, through collaborative efforts from communities, healthcare professionals, and individuals, we can make a difference. By raising awareness and promoting preventive measures, we empower older Americans to maintain their independence, stay active and enjoy a higher quality of life.
- Use NCOA’s Falls Prevention Conversation Guide for Caregivers if you or the person you are caring for has had a fall, is experiencing decreased mobility, is unsteady on their feet, or is fearful of falling.
- Use the MyHealthfinder Preventing Falls: Conversation Starters for tips to talk to your patients and loved one about preventing falls.
- Review the action steps in the Family Caregivers: Protect You Loved Ones from Falling brochure, developed by the CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidence, Deaths, & Injuries (STEADI) initiative.
- Encourage the use of NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp, a falls prevention screening that will help you or someone you’re caring for learn more about falls prevention tips and risk factors for falls.