Nearly one-third of people 65 years or older, and one-half of people 80 and older fall each year. About one in ten falls result in serious injury such as hip fracture or head trauma.

A person who has fallen once is 2 to 3X more likely to fall again.

In New York City, falls are the leading cause of injury related death and hospitalization in people 65 and older. Each year, NYC hospitals treat 37,000 older adults for falls.

There are many factors that can put one at risk for falling. Some of the strongest risk factors are:

  • Muscle weakness—especially hip and leg strength
  • Previous falls
  • Gait or balance impairment
  • Certain medications, including some blood pressure medications as well as psychoactive medications, such as sedatives or anti-depressants
  • Visual impairment

Tripping and slipping while walking forward is the most common causes of falls.

It is estimated that over 70% of older adults have a fear of falling, whether or not they have sustained a fall. Fear of falling can exacerbate an existing balance problem. It can cause one to limit their activities, thus producing greater loss of strength and balance.

A large body of evidence shows that an exercise program that targets strength, gait and balance is an effective intervention to reduce falls.