Older Adult Fall Prevention

An older adult falls every second of every day.1 In adults aged 65 and older, most injuries, both fatal and non-fatal, are caused by falls.2 In 2018, 32,731 older adults died as result of a fall in the United States. 3 Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures among older adults. Serious injuries occur in nearly 20% of falls.4,5,6,7

Although falls affect older adults at a disproportionate rate, they are preventable. To address the health concerns of a rapidly aging society, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) recognizes older adult fall prevention as a significant public health issue. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NACCHO is working on a project titled "Developing the Capacity to Support Older Adult Falls". The project aims to help local health departments (LHDs) develop their capacity to identify older adults at high risk for falls, create awareness among older adults about fall risk and prevention, and partner with community resources to support LHD’s fall prevention efforts.

Older adults huddle

Community Health

Older Adult Fall Prevention Issue Brief

A NACCHO-developed issue brief highlighting the prevalence of falls in community-dwelling older adults and evidence-based prevention practices.

Community Health

Older Adult Fall Prevention Issue Brief

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Podcast from Washington: Older Adult Falls Prevention

NACCHO sits down with Kevin McGinnis to discuss community paramedicine and how these programs help to prevent older adult falls.

Listen Now

Podcast from Washington: Older Adult Falls Prevention

Fall prevention is key to retaining independence for community-dwelling older adults. NACCHO is collecting resources to help LHDs develop their capacity to identify older adults at risk for falls and to implement evidence-based fall prevention programs and practices with their community resources.

General older adult fall prevention resources, including guidelines, frameworks, reports and initiatives can be found at the following resource centers:

This toolkit classifies resources by the following four topic areas:

    • Programs, Practices, and Interventions
    • Planning and Implementation
    • Community Awareness
    • Data and Evaluation

    For any requests to submit materials that support older adult fall prevention for LHDs and their partners, please contact us at IVP@naccho.org.

    Curated list of tools and resources that describe and support the implementation of evidence-based programs and practices.

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    Collection of resources that provide guidance on the planning and implementation of fall prevention initiatives.

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    NACCHO, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is continuing work on Developing the Capacity to Support Older Adultsa project designed to assist local health departments identify older adults at high risk for falls, increase awareness about fall risk and prevention among older adults, and partner with community resources to support fall prevention efforts.

    To aid in this work, NACCHO is looking for local health departments to volunteer to participate in key informant interviews. These key informant interviews will help NACCHO learn more about the role of local health departments and their partners in implementing clinical fall prevention programs and initiatives.

    Local health departments that operate or support older adult fall prevention programs and are interested in participating should reach out to the NACCHO Injury and Violence Prevention Team at IVP@naccho.org by March 19, 2021. NACCHO will be selecting up to nine local health departments to participate in the interviews.

    Public Health Infrastructure and Systems

    Stacy Stanford

    Director, Public Health Transformation

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    Programs

    Caroline Snyder

    Senior Program Analyst

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    Community Health Program

    Zinat Mohamed

    Program Analyst

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    Programs

    Jasmyn Rudd

    Senior Program Assistant

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    References
    1 Moreland B, Kakara R, Henry A. Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 years—United States, 2012-2018, MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69(27):875–881. DOI; http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6927a5
    2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online]. (2003). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (producer). Available from: URL: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars. [2020 Nov 9].
    3 Ibid.
    4 Hayes WC, Myers ER, Morris JN, Gerhart TN, Yett HS, Lipsitz LA. Impact near the hip dominates fracture risk in elderly nursing home residents who fall. Calcif Tissue Int 1993;52:192-198.
    5 Parkkari J, Kannus P, Palvanen M, Natri A, Vainio J, Aho H, Vuori I, Järvinen M. Majority of hip fractures occur as a result of a fall and impact on the greater trochanter of the femur: a prospective controlled hip fracture study with 206 consecutive patients. Calcif Tissue Int, 1999;65:183–7.
    6 Taylor CA, Bell JM, Breiding MJ, Xu L. Traumatic Brain Injury–Related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths—United States, 2007 and 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ 2017;66(No. SS-9):1–16. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6609a1
    7 Sterling DA, O’Connor JA, Bonadies J. Geriatric falls: injury severity is high and disproportionate to mechanism. Journal of Trauma–Injury, Infection and Critical Care 2001;50(1):116–9
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