Falls are linked to death and injury in all age groups, but older adults are particularly vulnerable. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury death for men and women aged 65 and older in Massachusetts and account for nearly one-third of unintentional injury deaths for this population. Risk factors include:

  • increasing age
  • decreased activity and strength
  • poor balance
  • impaired vision
  • osteoporosis
  • dementia
  • multiple medications
  • illnesses

In addition to a decrease in physical functioning, falls among the elderly can impact mental well being by producing feelings of social isolation, depression, and helplessness.

However, most falls are preventable! Many of these falls can be prevented by making changes in the physical environment such as

  • reducing household hazards
  • making lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise to improve balance and strength
  • having regular health screenings like eye exams

For more information on falls among older adults, call 1-800-227-SAFE.

Prevention Tips

Fall Prevention for Older Adults

  • Stay active
  • Have regular eye exams
  • Keep clutter out of your home
  • Use proper footwear

Massachusetts Fall Statistics

  • Falls are the 3 rd leading cause of injury death in MA and the leading cause of injury-related hospital stays and emergency dept. visits.
  • In 2006 there were 424 fall-related deaths and in FY 2006 there was a combined total of 203,818 inpatients hospitalizations, outpatients observation stays and emergency department visits for non-fatal fall-related injures among Massachusetts residents.
  • In 2006 approximately 80% of fall fatalities were among residents 65 years and older. Among residents 65 years and older, fall fatality rates increase exponentially with age.
  • Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in Massachusetts. Residents ages 65 and older have the highest rates of TBI-related death and inpatient hospitalization; infants less than one year have the highest rate of TBI-related emergency department visits.

Related Links

For More Information

To learn more about preventing falls, call 1-800-227-SAFE.

This information is provided by the Injury Prevention and Control Program within the Department of Public Health.