Preventing Older Adult Injuries: Florida Ranks Second in Medical Costs From Falls in Adults 65+ in the U.S.

Preventing Older Adult Injuries: Florida Ranks Second in Medical Costs From Falls in Adults 65+ in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Launches New Campaign to Highlight Steps to Prevent Injury in Adults 65+

WHAT: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching Still Going Strong, a national campaign that brings attention to ways older adults (age 65 and older) can age without injury. The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths in older adults. Older adults had over 2.4 million emergency department (ED) visits and 700,000 hospitalizations related to injuries from falls, motor vehicle crashes, opioid overdoses, and self-harm in 2018, according to a new CDC report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Unintentional falls accounted for over 90% of these ED visits and hospitalizations.

The newly-released CDC report found that Florida ranks second in medical costs from falls in the U.S. in adults 65 and older, at $3,935,000,000.

  • Falls: Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults. An older adult falls every second of the day. Of those falls, 1 out of every 5 causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury. After an older adult falls, their chances of falling again and getting injured increases.
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Older adults account for over 46 million licensed drivers in the United States—or 1 in 5 drivers. Driving helps older adults stay independent, but the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as we age. Every day, 700 older adults are injured in a motor vehicle crash and 22 die because of their injuries.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Falls and motor vehicle crashes are common causes of TBI in older adults. TBI is a major cause of death and disability and those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days or the rest of their lives.

While falls, motor vehicle crashes and TBI are common and costly in older adults, they are not an inevitable part of aging. They are preventable and there are things older adults and their caregivers can do to prevent this from happening.

  • Older adults can take simple steps to maintain their independence and mobility, such as talking to their health care providers about preventing falls and car crashes, removing throw rugs to make their home safer, and always wearing a seat belt while driving or riding in a vehicle.
  • Friends, family, and caregivers can help loved ones live longer and healthier lives by talking with them about fall and motor vehicle crash prevention, encouraging them to stay active and make safe choices, such as finding alternative transportation for going places at night.
  • Healthcare providers can ask their older patients if they have concerns about falling or driving safely. Review older patients over the counter and prescription medications to identify if any cause drowsiness or dizziness.