Falls are a significant health problem for older adults.
20-30% of Canadian seniors fall each year. Individuals who fall once are twice as likely to fall again. In Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations for older adults in Canada, accounting for 85% of injury-related hospitalizations in this age group.
Falls lead to falls. The most likely predictor of a fall is a previous fall. The most common cause of falling in older adults is slipping or stumbling from ground level, and most falls occur in the home. Falls can cause minor injuries, such as bruises or sprains, or major injuries, such as fractures, head injury, dislocations and even death. 95% of all hip fractures in Canadians 65 years of age and older are due to falls.
Falls are also leading causes for shoulder or upper arm injuries, knee or lower leg injuries, fractures and broken bones, sprains or strains, as well as head injuries for older adults which reflects the importance of bone health.
In fact, falls are the leading cause of permanent partial and total injury-related disability for Manitobans of any age.
As we grow older our bodies change in ways that can increase our risk of falling. The good news is that we do have control over some of these changes. We can make improvements to ourselves and our surroundings so that we can decrease our chance of falling. Take the Take Action to Prevent Falls Check-up to help you learn what is putting you at risk of falling.
Watch 8 Steps to Prevent a Fall video:
- Accreditation Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information and Canadian Patient Safety Institute. Preventing Falls: From Evidence to Improvement in Canadian Health Care. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2014
- Canadian Institute for Health Information. Series on seniors: seniors and falls. 2010; Discharge Abstract Database, Canadian Institute for Health Information; Fichier des hospitalisations MED-ÉCHO, ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, Quebec.
- Do, M. T., Chang, V. C., Kuran, N., & Thompson, W. (2015). Fall-related injuries among Canadian seniors, 2005-2013: an analysis of the Canadian Community Health Survey. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada: Research, Policy and Practice, 35(7), 99–108).
- O’Loughlin JL, Robitaille Y, Boivin JF, Suissa S. Incidence of and risk factors for falls and injurious falls among the community-dwelling elderly. Am J Epidemiol. 1993 Feb 1;137(3):342-54. PubMed PMID: 8452142
- Scott V, Wagar L, Elliott S (2010). Falls & Related Injuries among Older Canadians: Fall-related Hospitalizations & Intervention Initiatives. Prepared on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Division of Aging and Seniors. Victoria BC: Victoria Scott Consulting.
- Seniors falls in Canada. 2nd report (2014).
- The Cost of Injury in Canada Report (2015).