Older Californians At Risk for
This policy brief examines the growing rate of repeated falls among senior citizens, comparing data from the 2003 and 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). The authors found that over half million older Californians (565,000) fell more than once in 2007—about 100,00 more seniors with repeated falls than in 2003.
National guidelines by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and a recent synthesis of the scientific literature recommend reducing the risk of falling by older adults with a history of falls through an evaluation by a health professional with counseling on how to reduce falls, a review of medications, home modifications, exercise or physical therapy, and using a cane or walker if needed. However, the authors of this brief found that fewer than half of seniors with multiple falls engaged in the six recommended preventive activities in the previous year.
Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. Over 1,400 California seniors died due to injuries from falls in 2007; over 67,000 more were hospitalized; and almost 200,000 emergency department visits were due to falls by Californians of all ages.