Seniors’ Fall Prevention

November is Fall Prevention Month! Participate in Finding Balance BC’s campaign

Falls are the leading cause of injury‐related deaths and hospitalizations for BC seniors. Due to an aging population, falls-related hospitalizations have been steadily increasing since 2000 for those aged 65 and over. When an older person falls, it can come at a devastating cost resulting in loss of mobility, a reduced quality of life and, in severe cases, death. Direct and indirect costs for fall‐related injuries among this age group was $485 million in 2010.1

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Quick Facts & Stats

Causes

  • Approximately 40% of fall-related hospitalizations among ages 65+ years were due to hip fractures.2

Occurrence

  • Each year more than 200,000 BC older adults will experience one or more falls, resulting in more than 10,000 hospitalizations and more than 800 direct and indirect deaths.3
  • The most common place for older adults to fall is in the home.4
  • Falls are the most common cause of injury among BC older adults. Each year, one in three BC older adults (age 65+) experience at least one fall.5
  • Falls were the primary contributing cause for 14,940 acute hospitalizations among BC residents ages 65+ years in 2013/2014.6
  • The rate of fall-related hip fractures is almost three times higher for older adults who live in institutional/residential facilities, compared with seniors in non-institutional/non-residential settings.7

Costs and Impact

  • When an older person falls, it can have an enduring and devastating impact, resulting in injury, loss of mobility, a reduced quality of life and, in severe cases, death.
  • The number of bed days for fall-related hospitalizations is expected to increase from 162,562 in 2009/10 to 208,853 in 2018/2019.8 This would mean that an extra 127 beds per day would be needed in the province by 2018/2019.
  • Fifty percent of post hip fracture patients will not regain pre-injury ambulation status and require permanent use of a cane, walker or other mobility aid for walking.
  • Older adults with fall-related injuries tend to stay in hospital almost twice as long as older adults hospitalized for all other reasons.9

Prevention

Many falls in older adults can be prevented and there are proven interventions and programs that can reduce the physical and financial costs associated with seniors’ falls – see resources below.

Seniors’ Fall Prevention Awareness Week

Each year in November the BCIRPU and the BC Falls & Injury Prevention Coalition raises awareness of the risk of falls and fall prevention through Seniors’ Fall Prevention Awareness Week. For more information, please visit Finding Balance BC.

Information & Resources

Resources for Caregivers and Health Care Professionals

For more on Seniors’ Falls research & publications, go to our library »

  1.  Rajabali F, Ibrahimova A, Barnett B, Pike I. (2015). Economic Burden of Injury in British Columbia. BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit: Vancouver, BC.
  2. Average of fall-related hospitalizations, 2009/10 to 2013/14, Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), Ministry of Health, BCIRPU Injury Data Online Tool, 2016.
  3. BC Ministry of Health. (2006). The evolution of seniors’ falls prevention in British Columbia. BC Ministry of Health: Victoria, BC.
  4. Scott, V., Wagar, L., & Elliott S. (2010). Falls & Related Injuries among Older Canadians: Fall­-related Hospitalizations & Prevention Initiatives.
  5. Extrapolated from Scott, V., Peck, S., & Kendall, P. (2004). Prevention of Falls and Injuries Among the Elderly. Ministry of Health Planning, British Columbia and Quantum Analyzer PEOPLE 34 Population Data.
  6. Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), Ministry of Health, BCIRPU Injury Data Online Tool, 2016.
  7. See footnote 6.
  8. Scott, et al., 2010. A public health approach to fall prevention among older persons in Canada. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 26(4): 705-718.
  9. See footnote 4.