Gender differences in seeking care for falls in the aged Medicare population

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Jul;43(1):59-62. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.03.008.


Background: One third of adults aged ≥65 years fall annually, and women are more likely than men to be treated for fall injuries in hospitals and emergency departments.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine how men and women differed in seeking medical care for falls and in the information about falls they received from healthcare providers.

Methods: This study, undertaken in 2010, analyzed population-based data from the 2005 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MBCS), the most recent data available in 2010 from this survey. A sample of 12,052 community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries aged ≥65 years was used to examine male-female differences among 2794 who reported falling in the previous year, sought medical care for falls and/or discussed fall prevention with a healthcare provider. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the factors associated with falling for men and women. P-values ≤0.05 were considered significant.

Results: Nationally, an estimated seven million Medicare beneficiaries (22%) fell in the previous year. Among those who fell, significantly more women than men talked with a healthcare provider about falls and also discussed fall prevention (31.2% [95% CI=28.8%, 33.6%] vs 24.3% [95% CI=21.6%, 27.0%]). For both genders, falls were most strongly associated with two or more limitations in activities of daily living and often feeling sad or depressed.

Conclusions: Women were significantly more likely than men to report falls, seek medical care, and/or discuss falls and fall prevention with a healthcare provider. Providers should consider asking all older patients about previous falls, especially older male patients who are least likely to seek medical attention or discuss falls with their doctors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology