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Facts about falls

30% of people over the age of 65 and 50% over the age of 80 will fall at least once a year and 30% of those fallers will sustain injury with over 400,000 older people attending Accident & Emergency departments annually as a result1.

In people aged 65 & over, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men fall each year and in people aged 85 & over, 1 in 2 men and women fall each year2.

Falling is the primary cause of over 40% of admissions to nursing home3.

1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 in the UK will fracture a bone, mainly as a result of osteoporosis4. The cost of osteoporotic fracture in the UK is currently estimated at £1.8 billion per year5.

An older person with a broken hip occupies 1 in 5 orthopaedic beds6.

Individually tailored exercise programmes which concentrate on improving both strength and balance can reduce the incidence of subsequent falls in fit older people7. Furthermore, inclusion of more wide ranging interventions which include strength and balance exercises, reducing risks in the home, improving vision particularly for those with cataracts , changing prescribed drugs that may be contributing to falls and diagnosing and treating blackouts and other medical problems that can cause falls, are also beneficial in reducing the risk of falls.

  1. National Service Framework for Older People, 2001
  2. O'Loughlin et al, 1993
  3. National Service Framework for Older People, 2001
  4. National Osteoporsis Society, About Osteoporosis, www.nos.org.uk, 02/12/08
  5. Later Life Training, Manual 1 Knowledge Base – 2nd Edition, p.6. 2008
  6. National Service Framework for Older People, 2001
  7. Campbell et al, 1997; Inventions to reduce the incidence of falling in the elderly, NSF for Older People, DoH, 2001.