Falls are the leading cause of injuries among Canadians 65 years and over. Between 20% and 30% of community-dwelling Canadian seniors experience one fall each year. Research suggests that falls are the direct cause of 95% of all hip fractures, leading to death in 20% of cases.
Falls account for 85% of seniors' injury-related hospitalizations, making this the leading cause of injury-related admissions for seniors. The average Canadian senior had to stay in hospital 10 days longer for falls than for any other cause. Falls are associated with over 1/3 of admissions to long-term care facilities after being released from the hospital.
Apart from personal suffering, loss of independence and lower quality of life, the costs of seniors' injuries to the health system are enormous - approximately $2 billion annually is spent on direct health care costs.
Approximately half of all falls that lead to hospitalization among seniors occur at home. The bathroom and stairs are particularly hazardous due to the risk of slipping, tripping and stumbling.
Seniors who fall may limit their activities for fear of falling again. Yet by limiting activities, they are likely to lose strength and flexibility and increase their risk of falling again. Maintaining physical activity is essential if you wish to prevent falls and injury.