The No. 1 cause of injury to U.S. seniors are falls. They happen at unimaginable rates. A member of the elderly population receives treatment in an emergency room every 11 seconds because of a fall. Someone age 75 or older dies from a fall every 19 minutes. In 2013, the latest year for which statistics are available, the accrued cost of falls was $34 billion. As Americans live longer, that cost is expected to spike in 2020 to $67.7 billion.
The National Council on Aging has challenged itself to reverse the rising costs, injuries and fatalities associated with falls through its National Falls Prevention Resource Center’s Falls Free Initiative. The initiative identifies falls as a major public-health problem that, in many cases, is preventable.
“The initiative includes a coalition of over 70 national organizations charged with working toward the progress of one or more of the strategies in the National Action Plan,” according to the council’s Web site. “Members are engaged in disseminating proven falls prevention programs, advocating for funding, and educating older adults about how they can reduce their risk of falling.”