The CDC Injury Center's response to the growing public health problem of falls among older adults

Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Jan-Feb;10(1):74-77. doi: 10.1177/1559827615600137.


Background: Older adult falls are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. This leading cause of injury in adults aged 65 and older results in $35 billion in direct medical costs.

Objective: To project the number of older adult falls by 2030 and the associated lifetime medical cost. A secondary objective is to review what clinicians can do to incorporate falls screening and prevention into their practice for community-dwelling older adults.

Methods: Using the CDC's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System and the US Census Bureau data, the number of older adults in 2030, fatal falls, and medical costs associated with fall injuries was projected. In addition, evidence-based interventions that can be integrated into clinical practice were reviewed.

Results: The number of older adult fatal falls is projected to reach 100,000 per year by 2030 with an associated cost of $100 billion. By integrating screening for falls risk into clinical practice, reviewing and modifying medications, and recommending Vitamin D supplementation, physicians can reduce future falls by nearly 25%.

Conclusion: Falls in older adults will continue to rise substantially and become a significant cost to our health care system if we do not begin to focus on prevention in the clinical setting.

Keywords: STEADI; falls; older adults; prevention.