Office for the Aging


Fall and Injury Prevention

Falls often lead to hospitalizations, beginning the downward spiral that can result in long-term disability or death. The 65+ population is increasing rapidly and are at risk for injuries related to falls.. In 2005, charges for fall injuries in NYS residents age 65+ were almost $1.5 billion for hospitalizations and over $100 million for emergency department visits.

Personal risk factors Age (risk is greatest for 65+) include

  • Gender (females more likely to be injured/males more likely to die)
  • Race (death rates highest among older white males)
  • History of falling
  • Lower body weakness
  • Poor gait or balance
  • Vision impairment
  • Chronic Conditions (Parkinson's disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, incontinence)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fear of falling
  • Taking four or more medications
  • Taking psychoactive medication

Environmental risk factors include:

  • Clutter in walkways or on stairs
  • Electrical cords that cross pathways
  • Throw rugs; loose carpets
  • Slippery surfaces; changes in floor/steps
  • Unstable furniture
  • Poor or inadequate lighting
  • Inappropriate chair or cabinet heights
  • Pets and pet-related objects
  • Lack of stair railings of grab bars
  • Uneven/cracked pavement or surfaces
  • Tree roots
  • Building mats
  • Door sills