May 14, 2021
Reading Time 4 min.

What Do the Facts Reveal on Deaths from Falling Among Seniors?

Falls are among the leading cause of injury-related deaths for people over the age of 65. Are you aware of the fact that the rate of deaths from falling increased by a whopping 31% from 2007 through 2016?  

Falls pose a real threat to older adults and reduces their ability to stay independent. However, you do not have to fear fatal injuries or fall deaths for your loved one as there are ways to significantly reduce their chances of falling.  

Before discussing strategies that can be implemented by the elderly to reduce and prevent falls, let’s take a look at the reasons why people over the age of 65 fall, and fall deaths statistics.   

What are the implications around deaths from falling? 

The number of people aged 65 and over increasing in the U.S each year with aging baby boomers. Unfortunately, so are the number of deaths from falls related to balance and gait. For this reason, special attention was given to reviewing seniors’ medications and to advise the elderly to incorporate strengthening and balance training into their daily routine.  The Falls Free Initiative by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a national effort led by NCOA to address this serious issue.

Death from falling resulting from head injury.

Takeaways from Fall Deaths Statistics 

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) deaths stemming from unintentional injuries are number 7 on the list of the leading causes of deaths among older citizens.  

Close to 30,000 adults aged 65 years or older died due to falls during 2016. Also, the rate of deaths from falling was reported to be much higher among older Caucasian adults than any other ethnic groups.  

The fatal falls rate was much higher among older men than women in 2016 who mostly experienced nonfatal falls. Men may have experienced more traumatic falls as they are more inclined to perform riskier activities as they age. Climbing a ladder would be an example.

The number one leading cause of unintentional fall deaths among individuals 65 totaled 32,522 during 2018 as can be seen on the chart below

Deaths from Falling Statistics from World Health Organization 

How would you define a fall? In physical therapy, a fall is defined as any event that leads to an unplanned, unexpected contact with a supporting surface, such as the floor or a piece of furniture, that is not the result of a push or shove or the result of a medical event, such as a heart attack or fainting. This definition is from Fall related injuries are categorized as either fatal or non-fatal.  

Take a look at some key factors highlighted by the World Health Organization related to fall deaths: 

  • Falling is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or accidental deaths worldwide. 
  • Every year close to 646,000 people experience deaths from falling globally. 
  • Seniors over the age of 65 suffer the biggest number of fatal falls. 
  • As much as 37 million falls result in an injury that requires emergency medical attention every year.  

Fall Deaths Among Elderly People

Chart by CDC on Fall Deaths

Fall injuries prove to be a major health issue in older people. In fact, according to an assessment conducted among older people in Finland during 1971 through 2002, fall induced deaths increased among the elderly as reported by the American Public Health Association. And is projected to increase another 108% by the year 2030.

In the United States, injury from falling is the already the number one cause of death in the elderly. 

Who is the Most at Risk?  

Age definitely plays a huge role as elderly individuals face the risk of deaths from falling. For instance, up to 30% of older people who experience falls experience moderate to severe injuries like head trauma, hip fractures, and bruises. Once over the age of 65, every year increases the chance of significant injury from a fall.

How Deaths from Falling Incidences Can Be Prevented 

Reduce risk of death from falling

Effective fall prevention strategies must be put in place to help prevent fatal injuries and reduce the total number of falls. Your mother would benefit from fall prevention programs, such as: 

  • A regular check up with her primary care physician. To assess need for clinical interventions for low blood pressure, medication interaction, need for calcium and vitamin D supplementation, and correcting visual impairment. 
  • A therapy evaluation by a Physical or Occupational therapist to determine if assistive devices are necessary to reduce the risk of falling.
  • A home evaluation by a Physical or Occupational therapist to determine if modifications are needed to reduce the risks of falling. 
  • The therapist can also prescribe muscle strengthening and balance exercises to improve mobility and reduce chance of fall and injury.
  • Look for community based programs for strengthening or balance training such a silver sneakers or a Tai Chi class.
  • The very frail could benefit from hip protectors (like underwear with hip pads). To reduce risk of fracture in the event of a fall.


One of the best ways to reduce risk of death from falling is through regular visits to a physician. They can prescribe therapy to assist with home evaluations or strength and balance exercises. This will improve your loved one's mobility, improve their quality of life and reduce their risk of a significant injury from a fall.

For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.
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That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!


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