Falls represent the most frequent and serious type of accident in people over the age of 65. Falls are the main cause of disability and the leading cause of death from injury among people over the age of 75 in the UK. Having a fall can destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence.
The after-effects of even the most minor fall can be catastrophic for an older person’s physical and mental health. Fear of falling again, among older people and those who care for them, reduces quality of life and well-being, even if a fall does not result in serious consequences. However, falls are not inevitable.
Every year, more than one in three (3.4 million) people over 65 suffer a fall that can cause serious injury, and even death. Every minute, six people over the age of 65 suffer a fall.
Falls are costly for the individual, the NHS, and the care and support system. Falls cost the NHS and social care an estimated £6m per day or £2.3bn per year.
However, this figure represents the cost associated with hip fractures alone. It does not take into account other costs associated with falls that do not result in hip fracture but that may still require treatment or care.
There is growing evidence to show that investing in falls prevention services is cost-effective.
The Department of Health currently estimates that if every strategic health authority in England invested £2m in falls and bone health early intervention services they could each save £5m (net £3m) each year through reduced NHS costs, such as 400 fewer hip factures. In fact, the cost of falls has an impact across the health and social care system. For instance, many people in later life who fall require the help of the ambulance service.
Our handy infographic outlines six steps which can be taken to prevent a fall, giving those over the age of 65 the confidence to continue going out, socialising and keeping active!