Chronic Disease & Injury

Falls & Physical Injuries

Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable.

Resources

Why are We Falling?

As an adult reaches an older age, their reflexes and physical responses start to slow. This results in lower balance and a decreased ability to prevent one’s self from tripping over obstacles or slipping on smooth surfaces. Furthermore, as lifestyles become less active, there is a decrease in leg strength necessary to support your body as you move.

Prevention of Falls

Many falls are predictable and preventable. It is possible to assess someone's risk for falls through established risk factors and physiological assessment. Targeting and modifying risk factors in those at high risk for falls has been shown to reduce their risk, injuries and number of subsequent falls. Comprehensive, multifactorial falls prevention has promise of reducing healthcare costs, maintaining independence and avoiding disability.

Activity is an essential component of comprehensive, multifactorial falls prevention as it builds balance, strength, stamina and coordination. The Arizona Department of Health Services Injury Prevention has recently published the Injury Surveillance and Prevention Plan for the State of ArizonaPDF (2006-2010) providing data describing the State's burden for falls.

Healthy Aging Communication Network (HACN) Information

Currently, the Healthy Aging Communication Network (HACN) supports meetings of the Governors Council on Aging's (GACA), Social, Health, and Alzheimer's Committee's (SHAC), Falls Prevention Subcommittee (FPSC), who is working towards falls prevention and meets the first Thursday of the month in person and via web meetings in the interim.

If you would like to join the HACN complete the HACN Registry Application.

The Costs of Falls